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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: October 12, 2021 02:33 PM
From: Senator Lisa M. Boscola and Sen. Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Legislative Package to Join the National Counseling Compact & Changes to Behavior Specialists
We plan to introduce a package of bills which are related but address two important issues; one to enter a licensing compact for professional counselors and the other to keep uniformity of the compact with regards to the licenses under that banner.  More information on each of these proposals is included below.
We hope that you will join us in co-sponsoring these bills in order to achieve the advancement of the counseling compact.

Document #1

Description: We will be introducing legislation which would authorize the Commonwealth to join the National Counseling Compact.  This compact is an occupational licensure agreement based on the mutual recognition of both education and practices for counselors across multiple states.  The compact works by permitting a practitioner's home state license to be mutually recognized by other compact member states based on a set of criteria laid out within the language of the compact.  This model also provides counselors and their patients to have more opportunity as to where and how they provide treatment. 
We have seen what the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the physical and mental health of Pennsylvanians of all ages.  By joining the National Counseling Compact, we are widening the spectrum of professional health services in order to support and provide relief in our communities.  Moreover, our state has passed legislation to join multiple health-related compacts including physicians, nurses, physical therapists and psychologists.  The needs for these compacts has been made clearly evident by the pandemic, and the growth of these occupational medical license compacts has proven to be essential to community, state, regional and national healthcare needs.

Document #2

Description: We plan to introduce legislation which would move licensed behavior specialists from the State Board of Medicine to the jurisdiction of the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors.  Adoption of this legislation to move behavioral specialists under the professional counselors board will provide the necessary uniformity enabling Pennsylvania to join the National Counseling Compact, a licensure reciprocity agreement between states for professional counselors.  This bill is crucial to the compact authorization legislation in order to have licensed therapists/counselors under one licensure board.  Several hospitals and health systems have indicated that there has been a dire need for more of these licensed individuals, and the pandemic has only increased that demand.