Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
News : Recent Press Releases     Op-Ed     Publications     About the Legislative Press Bureau Printer Friendly View
6/12/2024 Assembly approves bill to join interstate counselor compact
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today voted to approve legislation from Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain and Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty to have Rhode Island join an interstate compact that allows counselors licensed in member states to practice in other member states.

The legislation (2024-S 2183, 2024-H 7141A), which is part of the Senate’s HEALTH Initiative of legislative priorities, now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The legislation is aimed at better enabling Rhode Islanders to access the mental health services they need amid staffing challenges in the health care industry, and to make it easier for qualified clinicians — particularly active military members and their spouses — to work in Rhode Island. It also helps preserve continuity of care when patients or their clinicians move across state lines.

“This legislation could have a significant effect on the way a counselor practices by providing a continuity of care and a better method of reaching underserved populations,” said Senator LaMountain (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston). “Compacts such as these are an effective way to address the health care crisis as it reaches a crescendo in Rhode Island and other states.”

“Interstate compacts have become an important tool for the medical profession,” said Representative Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown). “There is a great need for mental health services in Rhode Island, just as there is in every state, and this bill will help everyone who is having difficulty right now in finding counseling services. The interstate compact will allow Rhode Islanders to utilize several options, such as telehealth, to access the care that they need in other states.”

Once the state joins and establishes an oversight commission, counselors in Rhode Island can apply for the reciprocity privileges provided through the compact. Professionals practicing under these compacts would still need to hold an active license in good standing in their home state in additional to meeting the requirements for an interstate license. They would also still be accountable to the oversight department for each state they serve in.

“The Counseling Compact has many benefits, including increased access to desperately needed mental health treatment, availability of care for underserved communities, continuity of care across state lines, and improved opportunities and mobility for counselors,” said Dr. Prachi Kene, director of Counseling Programs at Rhode Island College. “I want to thank Senator LaMountain and Representative Fogarty for shepherding this important legislation through the General Assembly.”

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903