(The Center Square) – A major milestone for mental and behavioral health is being celebrated in Maryland, Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford said.

The lieutenant governor announced Maryland is now part of a 10-state coalition participating in the Interstate Counseling Compact. The measure allows professional licensed counselors to work across state lines to provide services.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford discusses a new initiative Sept. 27, 2021, aimed at bringing awareness about illicit drugs and preventing fatal overdoses. Credit: Office of Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford

“Allowing professional licensed counselors to continue to serve their patients, even if the patients move or travel to other states, will help increase access to the vital mental/behavioral and substance abuse disorder treatment that is desperately needed to address the well-being of Marylanders and all citizens throughout the United States,” Rutherford said in the release. “I will continue to support this compact until it is enacted in every state across the country.”

Other states include Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, Utah, Maine, Florida, Kentucky, and Nebraska, according to the release. Additional states are considering similar legislation.

According to the release, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed the measure into law in 2021 as one of the first states to become a member of the coalition. The Commissioner to Study Mental and Behavioral Health urged the legislation and was propped up by the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of Maryland.

Rutherford serves as chair of the commission, according to the release.

The Republican lieutenant governor earlier won ratification of a resolution from the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association that led to the pathway of the compact being passed by the legislature. The measure will permit doctors to practice across state lines and permitted state boards to protect patients via sharing licensure information.

Brent Addleman

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers...

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