Minnesotans can now receive mental healthcare from out-of-state providers

This just in, on April 6, Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order authorizing out-of-state mental health service providers to treat Minnesotan patients. This is to ensure that Minnesotans, especially those who live out of state but have moved back to Minnesota due to the virus, continue to receive mental services.

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.

This law should be made permanent

But this begs the question of why out-of-state healthcare providers cannot treat Minnesotans in normal times.

With just a stroke of a pen, Gov Walz has removed some significant impediments allowing out-of-state practitioners to practice in Minnesota, without any worry about their qualifications or skills. Yet in normal times, these same practitioners would not be able to practice in Minnesota.

But 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.