TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal that would enter New Jersey into the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) was released from the full Senate. The bill, S-2506, establishes a mechanism for licensed psychologists to provide psychological services to patients in other states and jurisdictions through the use of telehealth and telemedicine, and will open new outlets for consumers at a time when demand for mental health treatment is growing.
“As with many aspects of modern medical care, psychologists and mental health professionals need the freedom to continue to adapt to more flexible protocols, and especially now as we begin to come out of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Entering New Jersey into PSYPACT will allow individuals greater access to psychological and other mental health services, possibly at dates and times more convenient to their lifestyle.”
Research in the psychological field has shown that these services are particularly conducive for the use of telecommunication modalities, since they primarily involve verbal communication without the need of medical equipment or physical intervention. Entering into the compact will allow a continuity of these services that might otherwise be interrupted or suspended by reasons of geography, such as a person transferring to a new job, or a student going to college out of state.
“Though we have seen progress in recent months in regard to the pandemic, our residents continue to live through anxious and stressful times,” said Gopal. “Making sure that all those suffering from anxiety or emotional trauma receive the psychological or mental health services they need, or continue with treatment already begun, is absolutely vital, now and in the days ahead.”
The bill was passed out of the Senate, by a vote of 38-0, and sent to the Governor for final approval.