By Michelle Spitzer
State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (D-Parkland) has championed a bill to increase access to mental health care.
Rep. Hunschofsky along with Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart), filed the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact bill (HB 953) House Bill 953 and Senate (Bill 1370). Known as PSYPACT, the bill would expand telehealth laws for Florida psychologists to ensure the continuation of care for patients who travel throughout the country.
Currently, there are 27 states with PSYPACT legislation. If passed, in Florida it also would assist patients who move out of state. In addition, it would certify psychologists have met acceptable standards of practice, promote cooperation across PSYPACT states in the area of licensure and regulation and offer a higher degree of consumer protection across state lines.
“Providing the ability for our college students to continue their mental health care with their trusted mental health professional once they leave home is one of the major benefits of this bill,” Hunschofsky said. “This bill will provide more opportunity for access to quality mental health care for Floridians.”
The bill still has to go through the committee process before the Senate and House vote on it, then the governor’s final approval. However, it already has support from the Florida Psychological Association, whose executive director praised Rep. Hunschofsky and Sen. Harrell for their efforts.
“PSYPACT increases patient access to care from the highest trained mental health professionals,” said Dr. Carolyn Stimel, Executive Director of the Florida Psychological Association. “PSYPACT facilitates continuity of care when patients travel or relocate, offers a higher degree of consumer protection across state lines, and increases healthcare opportunities at a time when so many communities are facing greater mental health challenges.”
Hunschofsky, who represents District 96, which includes Coconut Creek, Parkland, a majority of Margate, and the north and east area of Coral Springs. The 20-year Parkland resident became a state representative in Nov. 2020. Previously, she was the mayor of Parkland.
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- Michelle Spitzer grew up in Coral Springs, attending Westchester Elementary, Ramblewood Middle, and J.P. Taravella High. She attended the University of Florida and has been a journalist for nearly two decades. As a reporter and editor for The Associated Press and USA Today, she’s covered everything from U.S. Presidents to shuttle launches to Jamie Foxx’s New Year’s Eve party.
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