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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We have created this webpage as a resource for LPCs, LMFTs, interns, 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 reimbursement, 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.

Statement on Distance Counseling

Given the current 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

1. Is the Board canceling meetings?

Not at this time.  If a previously noticed public meeting is canceled, it will be noted on the Board Meetings webpage. However, for the foreseeable future, all Board meetings will be conducted by teleconferencing. 

2. Is the Agency office still open?

We have not changed our normal operating hours; however, to minimize the unnecessary added risk of exposure to our staff and others in our building, we strongly encourage electronic communications to our office only.  Our office doors remain closed and locked, and beginning on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, members of the public (including licensees and applicants) will not be allowed entry to the building or office wing.

3. Is there a new exception to confidentiality that requires Oregon health professional licensees to report potential infections?

No.  We will communicate any changes to the confidentiality requirements or other laws applicable to licensed health professionals.

4. Is there any exception that allows me to practice in other states?

We cannot answer this question for other states, but understand that some states are reviewing their laws and making changes to allow such practice, so please check with the individual state.

5. Is there any exception that allows licensees from other states to practice in Oregon?

Effective only effective March 25 - September 20, 2020, the Board implemented a Temporary Rule Adoption (only valid up to 180 days) that created a Temporary Reciprocal Licensure method.  Applications are no longer processed under this method. This license allowed a counselor or marriage and family therapist who is licensed in good standing in another state to provide mental health care services in Oregon through confidential electronic communications.  The purpose of this license was to facilitate continuity of care for Oregon clients whose provider is located in another state.  The scope of practice was limited to the delivery of mental health services through confidential electronic communications to meet the immediate needs of Oregonians in response to the coronavirus emergency.

6. Will the Board be extending the Temporary Reciprocal License past September 11, 2020?

No.  The temporary rule creating this license was put into place on March 25, 2020 to address the immediate needs of clients who were being displaced to Oregon due to the pandemic.  The Board is not extending this license type.  The expectation is that during this six-month period, providers and their clients would determine whether ongoing services are needed, and if so, whether it is most appropriate to transition the client to another provider, or for the provider to seek full licensure in Oregon to continue providing services to the client.  Providers who wish to continue to practice in Oregon should have started the licensing process several months in advance to avoid any gaps in their ability to serve their clients.  The Applying for Licensure webpage contains the necessary forms and instructions.

7. Is the Board amending any of the internship experience requirements for licensure?

No, not at this time.

8. Is the Board amending any of the educational or experience requirements for licensure?

No, the Board is not considering amending the education requirements in OAR 833-030-0011 and OAR 833-040-011 at the present time.

9. Can an intern, or an intern/licensee under disciplinary supervision, receive individual supervision from their supervisor by electronic means?

Under prior OAR 833-050-0081, at least 25% of registered intern supervision was required to be conducted in-person.  However, in response to this crisis, the Board has filed a Temporary Rule Amendment, effective March 18 - September 13, 2020, that allowed for 100% electronic delivery of supervision for interns and those under disciplinary supervision. Subsequently, on October 2, 2020, the Board filed a Permanent Rule Amendment that now permanently allows 100% of supervision hours to be conducted through live, synchronous confidential electronic communications.

10. How can I keep my application/internship active when I cannot take the national exam due to exam site closures? 

Applicants and interns need to remember that there are timelines to take the exam.  If you are nearing expiration, the Board will grant all extension requests under the current emergency circumstances.  But you will need to send your written request for an extension to the deadline prior to the exam deadline that you face.  Please request the extension through the Exams page. 

11. 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.

12. Is the Board considering relief for licensees, such as fee deferrals and changes to the CE requirements?

We are actively monitoring developments in the Oregon Legislature and the Governor's Office, and we will explore options in light of those developments. Please check the updates on this webpage for changes that occur. 

Effective 6/8/20, the Board has adopted an extension to the Continuing Education (CE) requirements. CE reporting and auditing for the year 2020 has ceased.  All licensees, even those who already reported CE in 2020, will report 80 clock hours of CE in the year 2022, instead of reporting 40 hours in 2020 and 40 hours in 2022.  All CE documentation must be saved for reporting in the year 2022.  Please see our CE Webpage for more details and helpful charts.  Note: All licensees will continue to renew their licenses annually as usual. There are no fee or renewal waivers.  Please note that under current OAR 833-080-0041, all continuing education hours may be obtained via home study (distance learning).

13. Can a licensee be sanctioned by the Board if they do not comply with the Governor's Executive Orders related to COVID-19?

Yes.  The Board filed a Temporary Rule Adoption on October 2, 2020 (effective through March 30, 2021), followed by a Permanent Rule Adoption that became effective April 16, 2021, that 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 and include, but are not limited to: engaging in the practice of a profession required by an Executive Order to be closed; failing to screen clients in accordance with OHA guidance prior to providing services; failing to limit the number of individuals inside the premises or implement other protocols necessary to maintain physical distancing of six (6) feet; failing to implement OHA guidance on mask and face coverings; and failing to clean and disinfect in accordance with OHA guidance.  Please refer to the OHA guidance below, under Resources.

14.  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 interns to use a PO Box for their business address.

15.  Is the Board mandating that licensees get the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. For vaccine information, please visit the OHA COVID-19 Vaccine Webpage.

Resources

The following resources provide information and guidance on the state and federal response to COVID-19:

The following additional resources provide information on mental health issues related to COVID-19:



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