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Roegner Bill to Increase Access to Mental Health Care Heads to Governor's Desk

May 25, 2022
Kristina D. Roegner News
Roegner Bill to Increase Access to Mental Health Care Heads to Governor's Desk
COLUMBUS—The state legislature today passed Senator Kristina Roegner's (R-Hudson) bill to help increase access to mental health care in Ohio, and it is now on its way to the governor's desk to be signed into law. Senate Bill 204 enters Ohio into the Counseling Compact, which will allow all licensed mental health counselors to practice in member states, either in person or via telehealth.

"It is fitting to pass this bill during Mental Health Awareness Month," said Roegner. "This legislation is straightforward and focused on the best interests of caregivers and patients alike. Its passage will expand economic opportunity for Ohio’s counselors and improve access to care for Ohio’s patients through interstate travel and greater access to telehealth services."

The Counseling Compact will ease the licensure burden currently associated with military and civilian relocation. The Compact will go into effect once enacted by ten states. It is similar to the other mutual recognition type compacts the legislature has approved.

Like its predecessors, this Counseling Compact establishes an interstate commission comprised of delegates from compact member states to administer the compact. It also creates a licensure data system for the Compact member state boards to communicate and exchange information, including licensure and disciplinary sanctions.

The bill specifies requirements for an individual to obtain a privilege to practice, including:
  • Hold a valid license in their home state – which must be a compact member
  • Have no encumbrances on any state license currently and no adverse actions or restrictions against any license within the previous two years
  • Pass an FBI Fingerprint Criminal Background Check
  • Meet any jurisprudence requirements for the member state in which they are seeking a privilege
  • Complete any continuing education requirements (required by the home state only)
There are also requirements for a state to be able to join the Counseling Compact. A member state must:
  • License and regulate licensed professional counselors
  • Require licensees to pass a nationally recognized exam
  • Require licensees to have a 60 hour master’s degree in counseling or 60 hours of graduate coursework in relevant areas
  • Require licensees to complete a supervised postgraduate professional experience.
  • Have a mechanism in place for receiving and investigation complaints about licensees
  • Participate fully in the commission’s licensure data system
  • Notify the commission of any adverse action against a licensee
Conduct criminal background checks of candidates for an initial privilege to practice