We have created this webpage as a resource for LPCs, LMFTs, registered associates, and applicants in response to the coronavirus. We will continue to add information as we learn of new developments and in response to stakeholder concerns. Please remember that agency staff is unable to respond to requests for legal or clinical advice. The Board cannot advise or make comment on the Governor’s orders, insurance reimbursements, federal regulations such as HIPAA, or the happenings of outside organizations such as CACREP. You will need to contact those associated entities with questions related to their programs.
All licensees, registered associates, and other behavioral health providers are reminded that as designated healthcare providers, we fall under the most recent OHA Guidelines for healthcare settings. The mask mandate for healthcare settings has been lifted as of April 3, 2023. However, individual health care providers and health care settings may still choose to require face masks at their locations.
Statement on Distance Counseling
In particular during a public health crisis, the need for mental health services is expected to dramatically increase, and distance counseling may be appropriate in a greater number of cases. If you choose to provide counseling by electronic means, please review the section in the ACA Code of Ethics pertaining to distance counseling. Although the ethics rules do not expressly require training in distance counseling, the rules do require knowledge and competency, and so training is highly recommended.
Questions and Answers
The following FAQs are broken down by subject area. Last updated: April 3, 2023.
1. Are there any guidance materials on tele-therapy?
Please see below, under “Resources.” There is no additional certification required for Oregon LPCs and LMFTs (or registered associates) to practice teletherapy in Oregon.
2. Is there any exception that allows me to practice in other states or countries?
We cannot answer this question for other jurisdictions. Please check with the individual jurisdiction.
3. Is there any exception that allows licensees from other states to practice in Oregon?
No. Oregon law requires a license or registration with the Board in order to practice professional counseling or marriage and family therapy in Oregon, with some limited exemptions. The Apply for a License
webpage contains the necessary forms and instructions. Note that the Board is working towards a limited permit option for out-of-state licensees via House Bill 3300
in the 2023 Legislative Session.
4. Will insurance coverage for telehealth continue?
On June 1, 2021, House Bill 2508
was signed into law. This stipulates that in Oregon, telemedicine shall be reimbursed at the same rate as in-person services. We recommend you contact insurance companies directly to determine the appropriate billing codes.
5. Isn’t it unethical and unsafe for you to not continue to see your out-of-state clients via telehealth?
Check with the Board of the state where your client is located at the time of your provision of services. Prepare your client for the possibility that licensure requirements might require them to see a practitioner who is licensed in their state.
6. What changes in documentation should be considered when providing telehealth services during the pandemic?
When providing telehealth services, you should consider documenting in your clinical files that the session was conducted over telehealth, if an alternate platform was used and why (e.g., power outage necessitated a telephone call instead of video), where the client was at the time of the session, and how confidentiality was protected (e.g., did you ask if there were others in the house/room).
Seeing Clients In-Person
7. What if my client does not want to wear a mask and my office policy requires masking?
Therapists may opt for teletherapy or provide referrals to clients as needed.
8. If both my client and I have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, may we resume meeting for therapy in person in my office?
Therapists should consider what is in their clients’ best interest in determining whether or not to meet in person; they should guard against taking action that meets their needs rather than their clients’ needs. Transitioning back to in-person visits should be limited to those individuals for whom the benefits outweigh the risks, including the psychologist's. Optimally, the clinician will consider the individual needs of the patient (e.g., health vulnerabilities, access to technology, age, nature of the clinical or assessment requirements, etc.), of themselves, and the emerging research on COVID-19. Psychologists should seek information from the Oregon Health Authority, the CDC, and from other workplace health advisories to inform their decision making and learn procedures to mitigate risk. If you do decide to see patients in your office, be prepared to document the precautions and preventative measures that you and your staff have undertaken to ensure patient and staff's health and safety.
9. When does the mask requirement apply?
that the mask mandate for healthcare settings will be lifted on April 3, 2023. OHA recommends that licensees and patients may still consider wearing masks in health care or any settings to better protect themselves and those most vulnerable around them. Some health care settings may continue to require masks even after the requirement is lifted.
10. May I inquire about a person’s vaccination before returning to in-person treatment? Can we require clients to show proof of vaccines?
Offering in-person appointments only to full-vaccinated people is not discriminatory. Clients are free to decline sharing their vaccination status and can then be offered remote sessions. If a complaint is submitted to the Board regarding this question, the Board will consider whether the practitioner is acting in an ethical manner and is in compliance with the Governor’s orders and OHA requirements. Health information about the spread of coronavirus is frequently updated, and the most recent OHA recommendations, along with the therapist's own health issues, should be key considerations as well.
11. What if a client does not want to comply with your safety practices (such as wearing a mask, hand washing, social distancing)?
In a manner that respects Oregon law and ACA Ethical Principles (including, for example, weighing the directives regarding nonmaleficence and non-abandonment), you may offer telehealth or refer to another provider.
12. Can I see a client in my office without wearing masks if they are not concerned about the risk of COVID-19?
Some health care settings may continue to require masks even now that the requirement is lifted. Practitioners should carefully document thought processes and actions regarding masking.
Other Board-Related, Ethical, and Legal Considerations
13. Did the Board amend the clinical experience requirements for licensure?
The Board approved rule amendments pertaining to the LPC and LMFT Supervised Clinical Experience Requirements for Licensure, with an effective date of July 1, 2023 (Rulemaking Order Filed). Please see our Q & A.
14. Did the Board amend any of the continuing education requirements during COVID-18?
Effective 6/8/20, the Board adopted an extension to the Continuing Education (CE) requirements, and CE reporting and auditing for the year 2020 ceased. All licensees were required to report 80 clock hours of CE in the year 2022, instead of reporting 40 hours in 2020 and 40 hours in 2022. Annual renewal requirements were not changed. Please see our CE Webpage for more information. Note that under current OAR 833-080-0041, all continuing education hours may be obtained via home study (distance learning).
15. Can an registered associate or licensee under disciplinary supervision receive individual supervision from their supervisor by electronic means?
Yes. Under prior OAR 833-050-0081, at least 25% of registered associate supervision was required to be conducted in-person. The Board filed a Temporary Rule Amendment, effective March 18 - September 13, 2020, followed by a Permanent Rule Amendment on October 2, 2020 that allows 100% of supervision hours to be conducted through live, synchronous confidential electronic communications.16. Are there any changes being made for application-related forms that must be sent by paper mail?
Yes. Please see our Temporary Changes to Application Form Procedures in Response to COVID-19
17. Can a licensee or registered associate be sanctioned by the Board if they do not comply with the Governor's Executive Orders related to COVID-19?
Yes. OAR 833-110-0041
(effective 10/2/20) is a permanent rule which sets forth that failure to comply with any applicable provision of a Governor’s Executive Order, including failure to comply with Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidance, constitutes gross negligence. Violations are subject to Board sanction. This applies to current and future Executive Orders that might be issued during a Governor declared emergency. Please refer to the OHA guidance below, under Resources.
18. Can a licensee be sanctioned by the Board for violating Oregon Health Authority rules related to COVID-19?
Administrative rule adopted on 2/22/22 (OAR 833-110-0042
) sets forth that failure to comply with any applicable provision of an Oregon Health Authority COVID-19-related rule constitutes gross negligence. Violations will be subject to Board sanction.
19. Are we mandated to report a client exposed to or who has contracted COVID-19 to contact tracers from the health department?
The OHA regulation does not require LPCs, LMFTs, or registered associates to report to contact tracers, and it would be a violation of confidentiality if you reported without written consent. Some health care providers and facilities are mandated by law to report diagnoses of COVID-19 to the Oregon Health Authority, but this requirement does not apply to behavioral healthcare providers (LPCs & LMFTs) who are not diagnosing the disease. BLPCT licensees are encouraged to direct clients who believe they have been exposed to seek COVID testing and to follow current quarantine guidelines. Clients with questions about these topics can reach out to their primary care providers or local county health department. Note that HIPAA does not prohibit providers from reporting protected health information to public health authorities for the purpose of preventing or controlling diseases, including public health surveillance and investigations (45 CFR 164.512(b)(1)(i)).
20. I heard that there is a new exception to confidentiality that requires Oregon health professional licensees to report potential infections. Is this true?
No, this is not true. The Board will communicate with all licensees, applicants, and registered associates, if we learn of any changes to the confidentiality requirements or other laws applicable to licensed health professionals.
21. Do LPCs and LMFTs have a duty to warn if we become aware that clients are knowingly not complying with recommendations from the CDC or OHA, thereby putting others at risk?
Licensees in Oregon do not have a duty to warn and must adhere to client privilege.
22. Who should I contact if I have questions or don’t agree with OHA guidelines or rules?
LPCs, LMFTs, and registered associates (along with all other designated health care providers) are required to comply with OHA rules and guidance regarding COVID-19, prior to and while providing services. Licensees may contact OHA with their questions, objections or concerns regarding OHA guidelines at https://www.oregon.gov/oha
. You may also submit public comments to OHA regarding COVID-19 related proposed rules
23. Now that I'm working from home, is it OK for me to use a PO Box as my public address, and on my professional disclosure statement (PDS)?
The Board has always allowed licensees and registered associates to use a PO Box for their business address.
24. How can I help during the pandemic or other emergencies?
Counselors, therapists, and other healthcare providers may register for the SERV-OR
roster of volunteers in response to local, state, and/or federal emergencies, to support fellow health professionals and communities in times of crisis. The American Red Cross
also needs disaster mental health volunteers.
ResourcesState and federal response to COVID-19:
Information on mental health issues related to COVID-19: