Journal of Medical Regulation: Increasing Access to a Diverse Mental Health Workforce Through Emergency Reciprocity Licensure

New Jersey’s COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Reciprocity Licensure Program provided temporary licenses to more than 31,000 out-of-state health care practitioners, over a quarter of whom were mental health providers. As the need for mental health care accelerated during the pandemic, especially among health disparity populations, expanding mental health provider pools may be a critical tool to increase access to care. In January 2021, researchers at Rutgers surveyed New Jersey’s temporary licensees, analyzing over 4,500 mental health provider responses to examine the impact of the temporary licensure program on access to mental health care overall and on enhancing a diverse mental health workforce. Over 3,700 respondents used their temporary license to provide mental health care to New Jersey patients. Findings suggest that temporary out-of-state mental health providers helped enhance mental health care continuity and access.

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