Maryland becomes second state to join Counseling Compact
The Maryland state legislature recently passed SB 571, known as the Counseling Compact. The legislation allows for an interstate compact among states that gives professional counselors the ability to practice across state lines in other states within the compact agreement. The bill is now waiting on Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature to become law.
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The bill passage makes Maryland the second state in the country, behind Georgia, to join the compact. The bill came from an initiative started by the American Counseling Association (ACA) in the fall of 2018. Once 10 states have enacted legislation, the compact will go into practice.
Georgia’s legislature passed the compact March 25. Nebraska and Tennessee both have bills being worked on in committee. North Carolina and Delaware are currently drafting bills, as well.
The compact is desperately needed to address workforce shortages, especially in rural areas, according to Richard Yep, CEO of the ACA.
“The pandemic has just reinforced this need. The Counseling Compact is a practical, efficient and consumer-centric way to address the mental health needs of many Americans.”
The compact will allow professional counselors to practice across state lines both through telehealth and in-person. It will also increase client access, facilitate continuity of care when clients relocate and promote cooperation among states regarding regulation.