I am currently in the process of onboarding for telehealth as an occupational therapist. One benefit to this modality of providing occupational therapy services is the ability to remotely provide occupational therapy services to patients. The company I am starting OT telehealth with requires that I become licensed in more than 1 state (my home state). During my OT state board licensing, I was linked to the ‘occupational therapy licensure compact’ from the WA OT board website.
According to the WA OT board website,
The Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact (OT Compact) allows eligible licensed occupational therapists an alternative method for providing services in other member states. Under the OT Compact, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants who are licensed in good standing in a compact member state may practice in other compact member states via a “compact privilege,” which is equivalent to a license.
This is exciting news because applying for OT licenses across states, e.g., as a traveler can be cumbersome, require a lot of time, maintenance, and incur multiple costs. Each state has its own set of requirements, deadlines, and so on. So a unified system such as the OT Licensure Compact for states that participate can be a solution to this in the post-COVID state of healthcare where telehealth has become more accepted and used.
States that will be participating in the compact (as of 8/18/2023) – see the website below for most up-to-date status:
So say your state, e.g., WA is approved, does this mean you can practice in another?
Although your state passing the Compact is an important step, it does not automatically approve your license for use in other states. Practitioners must apply for the privilege to practice in each state through the Compact. We expect applications for Compact privileges to open in mid-2024.
As much of this is still developing and there are changes being made as we speak. According to their FAQ,
In order to practice through the Compact, practitioners need a Privilege to Practice. As of April 2023, Compact Privilege applications are not yet open. Over the next 12 to 18 months, the OT Compact Commission will be working to develop and implement the infrastructure needed for operational purposes. Once finished, we expect applications to be available. This may occur in mid-2024.
Their FAQ will probably answer most of your questions such as ‘What is the difference between a license and a privilege to practice?‘
Also, check out the OT Licensure Compact for more information – https://otcompact.org
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