FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2023
DELAFIELD, WI – IRG Action Fund CEO, CJ Szafir, reacts to the news that Senate Bill 515 will have a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention, Children and Families:
“It’s no secret that Wisconsin is facing a mental health crisis which has been exacerbated by the mental health provider shortage. If passed, Senate Bill 515 would immediately increase access to mental health providers for Wisconsinites in rural and underserved areas of the state. This bill will also help college students from other states keep their providers via telehealth and allow Wisconsinites to have options to receive the care that they need.”
What You Need to Know:
- Mental health has emerged as a major kitchen table issue in Wisconsin, as highlighted in IRG’s listening sessions and statewide polling by Morning Consult and State Policy Network
- Former Student Fellow Benjamin Garbedian wrote an op-ed for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last summer discussing the successes of tele-mental health and the legal hurdles in Wisconsin.
- IRG Action is championing SB 515 to dramatically increase access to mental health services by allowing qualified and licensed providers from other states to practice in Wisconsin via telehealth.
What is SB 515:
- SB 515 would allow for licensed out-of-state mental health providers to practice in Wisconsin via telehealth, without first being licensed in Wisconsin.
- Providers would need to be licensed in their home state.
- Have their license in good standing.
- Provide the client with contact information for their authorizing/licensing board.
- Report to the state within 30 days, via a simple form, that they are practicing in the state (bill was amended to include this).
- Bill was amended to remove physicians, physician assistants, and nurses, narrowing the focus on mental health providers.
- Wisconsin is facing a mental health provider shortage.
- The shortage is even more apparent in rural areas of the state.
- 26 states have some sort of allowances for out of state medical professionals to varying degrees.
- Students coming to Wisconsin for college would be able to maintain a relationship with a therapist from their home state while studying in Wisconsin.
- This bill would increase the pool of mental health providers available to Wisconsin residents that need help.
- Passed the Assembly on a voice vote.
- Hearing scheduled for this morning.