Minnesota’s Border Battles: COVID-19 edition
Last year, I wrote a report titled ‘Minnesota’s Border Battles‘ in which I compared the economic outcomes in Minnesota counties bordering other states with the outcomes in the border counties…
On April 6th, Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order that authorized out of state mental health service providers to treat Minnesotan patients. This is to ensure Minnesotans continue to receive mental services, especially those who live out of state but have moved back to Minnesota due to the virus. Patients will be able to utilize telehealth services, connecting with their providers remotely. Executive order 20-28 also waives late fees for licenses for some businesses like dentists, barbershops, and cosmetologists.
Governor Walz Stated;
Many Minnesotans receive mental healthcare services from providers in neighboring states. Additionally, Minnesotans previously living out-of-state, including college students and others, have been receiving out-of-state mental healthcare services but have returned to Minnesota due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Allowing out-of-state mental healthcare providers to provide telehealth services in Minnesota will ensure that the mental health needs of Minnesotans are met during the stress and uncertainty this pandemic.
According to Minnesota statutes 2019, section 12.42, during a declared emergency, a person who holds a certificate, license or permit from another state or the District of Columbia can operate as if licensed by the state of Minnesota subject to some limitations. Therefore, to meet the needs of Minnesotan patients, out of state qualifying practitioners will be allowed to aid patients in the state during this emergency period.
But this begs the questions of why these laws exist in the first place. As illustrated, there is little worry about qualifications when these laws are suspended. This is because qualified doctors possess the necessary skills to treat patients regardless of whether they are licensed by the state of Minnesota or any other state. If mental health providers can effectively provide telehealth services during this emergency period, there is no good reason that they should not be able to do so in a non-pandemic time.