Arizona Governor Hobbs Passes Legislation Allowing Non-Resident Therapists to Practice in the State

Arizona may soon receive more aid in the field of mental health as Governor Katie Hobbs has approved a recent legislation that permits specific therapists from other states to provide services to patients in Arizona.

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs has approved a new legislation that permits specific therapists from different states to provide mental health assistance to patients in Arizona. This could potentially increase the availability of mental health support in the state.

The signing of Senate Bill 1173 by Hobbs has enabled Arizona to become a member of the Counseling Compact Commission. This agreement permits counselors who hold a license in other states to practice in Arizona, whether through relocation or telehealth services.

The effort aims to facilitate counselors in working across state borders, with over 30 states already on board with this initiative. Experts believes that this will be beneficial for counselors and has the potential to create new opportunities and pathways in the state, which have not been available previously.

The implementation of this new legislation will simplify the process for counselors to practice in different states, eliminating the hassle of obtaining a new license in a different jurisdiction. However, only individuals holding licenses in states that are part of the agreement will be permitted to work in other states that are also part of the agreement.

Any person who holds a license in a compact state is qualified to practice in another member state, but they must actively request permission to do so.

Republican State Senator David Gowan believes that this legislation will benefit not only urban areas, but also rural areas where there may be a shortage of staff to provide assistance to residents.

According to the American School Counseling Association, the implementation of the new law has the potential to improve the situation in schools, as Arizona currently holds the lowest rank in the nation for student-to-counselor ratio. The association’s recommended ratio is to have one counselor for every 250 students. While Arizona has shown progress compared to previous years, the most recent school year had a ratio of 667 students per counselor, making it the lowest ranking state in the country.

Currently, a similar proposal, Senate Bill 1036, is being considered by the legislature to allow Arizona to become a member of a social worker compact. Due to the discontinuation of federal COVID funding, some schools in the Valley, such as Apache Junction Unified and Dysart Unified, have decided to eliminate social worker positions from their district for the upcoming school year.