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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=10285
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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 20, 2012 02:48 PM
From: Representative Kate Harper
To: All House members
Subject: "Give an Hour" to our Veterans (Former HB 1961)
 
In the near future, I plan on reintroducing former HB 1961 which amends the Volunteer Health Services Act – expanding it to include psychiatrist, psychologist and counselors for military personnel and their families. This legislation would change the current language to allow psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors the ability to obtain a volunteer license so that they may provide free mental health services via “Give an Hour” to military personnel and their loved ones, regardless of income, whether inside or outside a clinical setting. The definition of “approved clinic” is amended to include an organization such as Give an Hour and the term “mental health services” will include marital and family therapy, substance abuse counseling and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The measure also requires the licensed volunteer providing free mental health services to furnish each client with a written explanation of the exemptions from civil liability provided for under the act.

The non-profit organization known as “Give an Hour”, which was created by a network of 1,200 mental health professionals nationwide who each gives an hour of their time every week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families. Under the program, a mental health expert would receive referrals and provide free services at a site that is likely outside a clinical setting (i.e. library, community center, church). This is to ensure the privacy of those seeking the services.

One of my constituents, a retired board certified psychiatrist, applied for a volunteer license under the current Volunteer Health Services Act, but was rejected by the State Board of Medicine because the act does not permit the issuance of such a license for any volunteer work provided by a retired mental health care worker outside an “approved health clinic.”

The Department of State and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs have reviewed this legislation and it reflects their feedback. Expanding this act to allow mental health professionals to qualify for a volunteer license will enable them to provide complimentary/confidential mental health counseling to troops and their loved ones who have faithfully served the United States and fought for our freedom.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

PREVIOUS COSPONSORS: B. BROWN, CALTAGIRONE, CULVER, CLYMER, DALEY, FABRIZIO, FARRY, GINGRICH, GOODMAN, KAUFFMAN, KILLION, KORTZ, KOTIK, LONGIETTI, MILLER, MILNE, O’NEILL, QUINN, READSHAW, ROCK, ROSS, SCAVELLO, SIMMONS, SWANGER, TAYLOR, THOMAS, TOEPEL, TOOHIL, WATSON, and YOUNGBLOOD

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Introduced as HB43