ALERT: Texas and Louisiana Licensing Boards Relaxing Requirements for Behavioral Professionals to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Harvey Mental HealthIf you are a behavioral health / mental health / addictions recovery professional who can travel to help with Hurricane Harvey survivors in Texas or Louisiana, you may want to consider taking the following steps:

  1. Contact the Texas or Louisiana Licensing Board related to your discipline to inquire about an expedited licensing registration process:
  2. Coordinate your efforts through the American Red Cross. They are actively seeking volunteers to help for a minimum of 9 days. Emily Aloto, Recovery Manager for the American Red Cross Buckeye Region reportedly has requested help from licensed EMTs, paramedics, LPNs, RNs, nurse practitioners, doctors, etc. and mental health professionals. See more information about her Red Cross appeal for Hurricane Harvey mental health volunteers.

    See the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey registration website here: http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/lp/hurricane-harvey-health-professionals


  3. While the Red Cross will help educate you about their processes, as a licensed professional, you may also benefit from reading some of the evidence-base related to known treatment interventions:
    • AUGUSTERFER, E. F., MOLLICA, R. F., & LAVELLE, J. (2017). Telemental Health in Post disaster Settings. Telemental Health in Resource-Limited Global Settings, 203.
    • Paton, D., & Johnston, D. (2017). Disaster resilience: an integrated approach. Charles C Thomas Publisher.
    • Rolston, D. M., & Meltzer, J. S. (2015). Telemedicine in the Intensive Care Unit. Critical care clinics, 31(2), 239-255.
    • WHITTAKER, S. Use Catholic Tradition to Guide Telehealth January-February 2015.
    • Goodman, R., & West-Olatunji, C. (2008). Transgenerational trauma and resilience: Improving mental health counseling for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 30(2), 121-136.


Please Note: While telehealth is a long term goal for working in disaster areas, current regulations do not allow telepractice into Texas or Louisiana. If you would like to see this changed, send a note to your licensing board and share your views.


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2 comments on “ALERT: Texas and Louisiana Licensing Boards Relaxing Requirements for Behavioral Professionals to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

  1. Ohio Counselors, Social Workers and MFT Board permits telehealth for its licensees as long as the professional follows the other state’s law. In Ohioans’ case the issue would be with the LA or TX boards, not Ohio’s.

    • Yes, you are correct, John about needing to know and follow the Texas and Louisiana law as well as their own Ohio law. And as it stands now, this emergency situation does not involve telehealth to any degree that I have seen. The clinician must physically go to Texas or Louisiana. Once there however, a telehealth-minded clinician will be in a good position to start advocating for the future use of technology with disaster victims who have been treated in person. Now that many of us have very advanced telecommunication technology, it makes no sense to help someone when they have lost everything in the heart of a disaster zone, then abandon them a few days or weeks later because we have to return to our “stat” of origin. Once treatment begins, a bond is formed that should take precedence over state laws. The problem of course, is that states have not yet considered such issues a priority. They have not yet allocated enough time and resources to making shared licensure a reality over state lines.
      If we don’t push on current restrictions that make no sense, such archaic restrictions will never change. Don’t leave it to the next guy to do. Take action yourself. Be the change. Speak to your board – respectfully, yet clearly.
      I invite others here to tell us what you are seeing with the board’s reaction to you contact.

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