Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

1.  My practice/agency/university is moving services to telehealth only. Am I allowed to provide psychological services by telehealth to clients located within North Carolina?

2.  My practice/agency/university is moving services to telehealth only, but many of my clients reside out of state. Am I allowed to provide telehealth services to individuals outside of North Carolina?

3.  My practice/agency/university is moving services to telehealth only. My clients reside in North Carolina, but I reside out of state. Am I allowed to provide telehealth services to individuals from outside of North Carolina to my clients within North Carolina?

4.  Does the Board have any guidance on training and qualifications necessary for licensees to be ready to address workplace shortages in essential heath care services needed to properly manage the State of Emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

5.  I would like to provide psychological services in North Carolina during the current State of Emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am not licensed in North Carolina, can I do so?

6.  I am licensed and located in another state and my client is returning to North Carolina. As I am not licensed in North Carolina, can I provide psychological services to my client by telehealth when I am located in another state and they are located in North Carolina? Can I travel to North Carolina to provide my client with psychological services?

7.  I am licensed as a psychologist in another state, but supervise a graduate student/postdoctoral intern/trainee who is also located outside of North Carolina. The student/intern/trainee has been seeing a client who has relocated to North Carolina for the foreseeable future and would like to continue seeing this individual via telehealth. Is this allowed?

8. I am a North Carolina licensed psychologist, do I still have to complete my required continuing education in order to renew my license by October 1st?

9.  The testing centers where I was scheduled to take the EPPP and the North Carolina state exam have closed because of COVID-19.  What happens if I miss my deadlines to take the exams?

10.  My practice/agency/university is moving services to telehealth only. Does the Board allow the administration and provision of psychological testing instruments via telehealth?

11. For what length of time am I required to retain client/patient records?  What parts of the record must be maintained? Do I have to keep the paper record or can it be retained electronically?

For additional information regarding safety and practice-related issues regarding coronavirus (COVID-19), please see the following links:

https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina
https://www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/pandemics


If you have additional questions, please contact the Board office at: info@ncpsychologyboard.org.

 


 

1.  My practice/agency/university is moving services to telehealth only. Am I allowed to provide psychological services by telehealth to clients located within North Carolina?

 Yes. The practice of psychology may be provided in North Carolina by North Carolina-licensed psychologists or by those exempt from licensure in North Carolina (i.e. students, qualifying postdoctoral interns, applicants, etc.) through electronic means such as telehealth. Please find the Board’s advisory statement on the topic at: http://www.ncpsychologyboard.org/office/ElectronicServices.htm.

 US  DHHS Statement on telehealth and HIPPA compliance during public health emergency :

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/notification-enforcement-discretion-telehealth/index.html 

 

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2.  My practice/agency/university is moving services to telehealth only, but many of my clients reside out of state. Am I allowed to provide telehealth services to individuals outside of North Carolina?

 The Board considers the practice of psychology to occur both where the psychologist who is providing psychological services is located and where the individual (patient/client) who is receiving the services is located. Therefore, if you are licensed in North Carolina (or exempt from licensure), you can practice psychology through electronic means to someone located in another state; however, you would need to first contact the state licensing board in the state where your client is located to determine if licensure is required to provide psychological services through telehealth to someone located in that state.

 ASPPB Summary of Temporary Interjurisdictional Telepsychological Practice & COVID19

 

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 3.  My practice/agency/university is moving services to telehealth only. My clients reside in North Carolina, but I reside out of state. Am I allowed to provide telehealth services to individuals from outside of North Carolina to my clients within North Carolina?

If you are licensed to practice psychology in North Carolina, you can provide psychological services to someone located in North Carolina; however, you would need to contact the state where you reside to determine if licensure is required to provide psychological services from the state where you reside into another state such as North Carolina.

 

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 4.  Does the Board have any guidance on training and qualifications necessary for licensees to be ready to address workplace shortages in essential heath care services needed to properly manage the State of Emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Pursuant to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 130, Section 3, effective on April 8, 2020, which shall remain in effect until June 26, 2020, unless rescinded or replaced, the Board has been requested to address this issue. As a result, the Board reminds licensed individuals that, when appropriate, they may engage in telehealth. In addition, the waivers below in FAQ #3 are provided to help manage any workplace shortages. Further, the Board encourages a licensee to seek peer consultation prior to practicing in any area of psychology in which they have not previously practiced and ensure they are competent in that area.

 

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 5.  I would like to provide psychological services in North Carolina during the current State of Emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am not licensed in North Carolina, can I do so?

Pursuant to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 130, Section 3, effective on April 8, 2020, which shall remain in effect until June 26, 2020, unless rescinded or replaced, the Board has been authorized to temporarily waive licensure requirements for individuals that meet certain qualifications. As a result, individuals who meet any of the following categories may practice psychology in North Carolina until June 26, 2020, unless the Executive Order is rescinded or replaced prior to that date:

  1. A psychologist who is licensed in another State, territory, or the District of Columbia with no prior disciplinary action, but not licensed in North Carolina. Further, if the psychologist is licensed at the master’s level in another State, he or she is required to comply with the supervision requirements of the North Carolina Psychology Board pursuant to Board Rule .2006 and Board Rule .2008.
  2. A psychologist who was licensed in North Carolina with no prior disciplinary action, but has retired from practice and whose status with the Board is “retired”. If the individual was previously licensed as a licensed psychological associate, he/she is required to be supervised by a psychologist licensed in North Carolina pursuant to Board Rule .2006 and Board Rule .2008. Further, if the individual was previously licensed as a licensed psychologist, but has not been licensed for 5 years or more, that individual is required to practice under the supervision of a psychologist licensed in North Carolina at a rate of one hour for every two weeks of practice.
  3. An unlicensed individual who has been awarded a master’s degree or doctoral degree in psychology from a regionally accredited program that is not an online program, who shall only provide psychological services in North Carolina as a volunteer. The individual is required to practice under the supervision of a psychologist licensed in North Carolina at a rate of one hour for every week of practice.
  4. An individual who is either currently enrolled or within the past 3 months completed a master’s or doctoral program from a regionally accredited institution that is not an online program and has completed at least 1 year of an internship or practicum. This individual is required to practice under the supervision of a psychologist licensed in North Carolina at a rate of one hour for every week of practice.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any of the above individuals who wish to provide psychological services (either through telehealth or in person) to someone located in North Carolina must provide the North Carolina Psychology Board at info@ncpsychologyboard.org with:

    1. notification of their intent to provide psychological services to someone located in North Carolina; (ii) which of the above exemptions they fall under;
    2. name of the State(s) in which they are currently licensed, if applicable;
    3. the identity and contact information of the psychologist in North Carolina who will provide the required supervision noted above, if applicable;
    4. name of the organization under which they are volunteering, if applicable; and,
    5. any other information or documentation required by the Board.

This notification must be done PRIOR TO providing psychological services to someone located in North Carolina. The Board will notify the psychologist or unlicensed individual once the documentation has been reviewed and confirm that the provision of psychological services can commence. The licensure waiver is temporary and is effective only until Executive Order No. 130 is in effect, which is until June 26, 2020 unless it is rescinded or replaced.

 

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 6.  I am licensed and located in another state and my client is returning to North Carolina. As I am not licensed in North Carolina, can I provide psychological services to my client by telehealth when I am located in another state and they are located in North Carolina? Can I travel to North Carolina to provide my client with psychological services?

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 130 temporarily waives the licensure requirements for psychologists who are licensed in another state to provide services within North Carolina. See response to FAQ # 5 above, which is also applicable to telehealth.

 

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 7.  I am licensed as a psychologist in another state, but supervise a graduate student/postdoctoral intern/trainee who is also located outside of North Carolina. The student/intern/trainee has been seeing a client who has relocated to North Carolina for the foreseeable future and would like to continue seeing this individual via telehealth. Is this allowed?

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 130 temporarily waives the licensure requirements for psychologists who are licensed in another state to provide services within North Carolina. Students/interns/trainees meet criteria for exemption from licensure, provided they are “under the supervision and responsibility of a qualified psychologist in an institution of higher education or service facility, provided that such activities and services constitute a part of his or her course of study as a matriculated graduate student in psychology” (90.270.4(d) of the NC Psychology Practice Act). As supervision of these individuals is considered the practice of psychology in North Carolina, those who are supervising the students/interns/trainees would be required to notify the North Carolina Psychology Board at info@ncpsychologyboard.org of their intent to provide psychological services in North Carolina and also must identify the state(s) in which the psychologist is licensed. This notification must be done PRIOR TO providing supervision to someone providing services in North Carolina. The Board will notify the psychologist once licensure has been confirmed that the provision of psychological services by the supervisee can commence. The licensure waiver is temporary and is effective only until Executive Order No. 130 is in effect, which is until June 26, 2020 unless it is rescinded or replaced.

 

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 8. I am a North Carolina licensed psychologist, do I still have to complete my required continuing education in order to renew my license by October 1st?

Yes. As the deadline to complete the required continuing education is several months away and there are numerous online providers of continuing education, all required continuing education must be completed in order to renew your license by October 1st. If you plan to take online continuing education, please make sure it complies with the Board’s requirements under Rule .2104. A quick reference guide to those requirements can be found at the following link - http://www.ncpsychologyboard.org/Office/PDFiles/CE101.pdf

 

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 9.  The testing centers where I was scheduled to take the EPPP and the North Carolina state exam have closed because of COVID-19.  What happens if I miss my deadlines to take the exams?

 As Pearson has closed all of its testing centers and some PSI testing centers have closed, the Board will extended licensing examination deadlines if applicants are unable to take the EPPP or the North Carolina state exam by their deadline(s) due to the closure of the testing center where an applicant was scheduled to take the exam.  However, applicants must notify the Board at info@ncpsychologyboard.org if s/he will be unable to meet licensing examination deadline due to the closure of the testing center, so that your application file can be updated to reflect the extension. 

 Please note that this is a temporary extension. The length of the extension will be determined at a later time once testing centers reopen and exams can be rescheduled.  Any new information regarding examination deadlines will be posted here.

 Additional information regarding the status of testing enters can be found at:

EPPP Exam testing center updates: https://home.pearsonvue.com/coronavirus-update

State Exam testing center updates: https://www.psionline.com/important-notice-update-concerning-covid-19-coronavirus/

 

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 10.  My practice/agency/university is moving services to telehealth only. Does the Board allow the administration and provision of psychological testing instruments via telehealth?

 The Board does not have specific rules regarding the administration of testing instruments remotely; however, the Board expects any psychologist to follow the guidelines of the specific test as well as those set up by the particular test publisher to ensure the validity of such tests.  It would be within the psychologist’s clinical judgment to use a particular instrument suitable to answer the referral question and it would be the psychologist’s responsibility to administer instruments conforming to the instructions, guidance of the publisher, and in a manner supported by data.  Pearson currently has numerous resources regarding using testing instruments during COVID-19 and via telehealth, including a list of their instruments which may, under certain conditions, be administered over telehealth devices, available here: https://www.pearsonassessments.com/professional-assessments/digital-solutions/telepractice.html

 

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 11. For what length of time am I required to retain client/patient records?  What parts of the record must be maintained? Do I have to keep the paper record or can it be retained electronically?

 Except when prevented from doing so by circumstances beyond their control, a psychologist must retain securely and confidentially the complete case record for at least seven years from the date of the last provision of psychological services for adults.  For individuals who were minors when services were provided, the complete case record must be retained until three years after the date of attainment of majority age by the client/patient or for seven years from the date of the last provision of psychological services, whichever is longer.  A psychologist is required to retain the record past the requisite time periods if there are pending legal or ethical matters.  A psychologist must retain the entire client/patient record for the minimum time periods, but may decide to maintain records for longer for professional or clinical reasons.  The complete record would include intake documentation, consents, all notes, reports, and evaluations with summary content documented for each session of the services provided.  The complete record would also include informed consents, billing information (including fees, dates of services, and itemized charges), all raw test data, emails, texts, and any other communications between the psychologist and the client/patient or collateral contacts.  The Board has no specific rules requiring what form a client/patient record must be maintained, therefore, provided the entire record is retained, it can be in either paper or electronic form.  For more information, reference N. C. Gen. Stat. 90-270.15(a)(17) and (18). 

 

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