Tue January 29, 2013
Remote Mental Health Care a Possibility with New House Bill
The Utah House Health and Human Services Committee gave a favorable recommendation to a bill that would allow mental health and substance abuse counselors the ability to provide therapy remotely.
House Bill 56 clarifies the right for licensed mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors to provide therapy using the telephone or the internet. It also creates a short transitional period that allows licensed professionals in other states to provide therapy remotely for patients that have recently moved to Utah. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative Ronda Menlove, says she recognizes that finding quality mental health can be difficult, especially in rural areas and during times of transition.
“That’s why this legislation is being brought forward so that we can continue to do the things that we’ve been doing to serve people throughout the state and provide access,” she says.
While the bill passed out of committee unanimously, several members had a few issues with it, including Republican Representative Brian Greene.
“I am concerned that we have, that we’re trying to create an exemption here in state code that is neither beneficial, necessary, and maybe not even enforceable,” he says.
The bill now heads to the House floor for further debate.