Florida needs psychologists around the country to treat the people in line at Walt Disney World

Out of State Professionals needed to treat Florida's snowbirds

Florida needs psychologists around the country to treat the people in line at Walt Disney World

 

ORLANDO. April 1, 2021

The State of Florida announced today that they would need the help of every psychologist and every other mental health professional in the entire country to treat the crazy people standing in line at Walt Disney World this Summer 2021. They did not mention anything about COVID-19 and this is a permanent request, “we just think all the people who regularly go to Disney World must be crazy,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The Governor added that “our own psychologists won’t be able to continue treating them when they go back north.”

It is notable that the American Psychiatric Association is also considering adding Disney Vacation Club membership as a recognized psychiatric disorder in DSM-5.1. Mental health professionals nationwide will be called upon to treat this newly recognized psychiatric disorder.

Even after the COVID-19 pandemic is just a memory, Florida will continue to request the services of mental health professionals around the country to treat the influx of vacationers and people escaping the lack of sunshine in the north. “I’m begging you; our mental health system can’t handle all of these weirdos looking for sun and fun,” said Governor DeSantis, “please register to help Florida now.” You can register to treat these snowbirds and Disney Vacation Club members (as well as year round Florida residents) by going here: https://www.flhealthsource.gov/telehealth/

Interestingly, Florida is not a member of PSYPACT (the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact), so Florida’s psychologists themselves likely won’t be able to treat these part-time Florida residents or others when they flee north during the summer to escape the heat and the influx of Disney Vacation Club members in the same way. Due to the way PSYPACT and Florida’s telehealth rules are currently structured, psychologists in Florida themselves may not be able to treat snowbirds in the same way as an out-of-state psychologist could. While a registered out of state telehealth provider may be able to treat the person in both their winter and summer homes, the Florida psychologist likely would not be able to treat them in both locations without acquiring an additional license (or in some limited circumstances permission from the other state’s board). Governor DeSantis said “if these part-time Florida residents want good continuity of care, they should see a non-Florida psychologist who filled out a quick and easy form online, NOT a Florida psychologist.”

Conclusions:

  • Out of State Professionals are needed to treat Florida’s snowbirds
  • Out of State Professionals can get permanent permission to perform telehealth to snowbirds in FL with next to no effort (meanwhile Florida’s own psychologists likely won’t be able to have continuity of care with patients who might go north for the summer)

In the past I’ve written somewhat satirical blog posts on April Fools’ Day. For example:

You can find links to all of them here: http://psychology.news/news/category/april-the-first/

WHAT ISN’T AN APRIL FOOLS’ JOKE:

Out of state licensed health care providers can register with Florida and provide telehealth services there without getting licensed in Florida and at this point without a fee to Florida. This is not related to any public emergency, it is an ongoing registration (ex: see https://floridaspsychology.gov/licensing/out-of-state-telehealth-provider-registration/ )

“Health care practitioners with an out-of-state license or certification that falls under section 456.47(1)(b), F.S, qualify for an out-of-state telehealth provider registration number when they meet the following requirements:

    • Submit the completed Application for Out-of-State Telehealth Provider Registration;
    • Maintain an active, unencumbered license from another state, the District of Columbia, or a possession or territory of the United States (license verification is required);
    • Not have a pending investigation, discipline, or revocation on your license within the last five years;
    • Designate a duly appointed registered agent for service of process in Florida (see Application for Out-of-State Telehealth Provider Registration)
    • Maintain liability coverage or financial responsibility for telehealth services provided to patients in Florida in an amount equal to or greater than Florida health care practitioner requirements
    • Not open a Florida office or provide in-person health care services to Florida patients
    • Only use a Florida-licensed pharmacy, registered nonresident pharmacy, or outsourcing facility to dispense medicinal drugs to patients in Florida (pharmacists only)

If you need a Florida Registered Agent that part is easy too- just google “Florida Registered Agent” or spend $35 per year at FloridaRegisteredAgent.com

If you’re an out of state professional chances are you may one day have a snowbird or someone else who goes to Florida for a while that you could potentially treat by telehealth. You can also treat Florida residents by telehealth. You can register as an out of state telehealth provider here (this is essentially a “permanent” registration and not based on the public health emergency): https://www.flhealthsource.gov/telehealth/

Fun tip: The application notes you need to send in a form to your state board so that they’ll send your licensure verification to Florida directly. I did complete the form but had just printed it out and stuck it in the mail to my board since it wasn’t a priority (I don’t recommend using the mail). However, I emailed in my application on a Thursday night and I learned it was approved the following Monday morning; I had also included a PDF copy of my official licensure verification from my board’s website (I recommend doing that). Florida had not received the paper licensure verification form directly from my board in Ohio before they approved me to be a telehealth provider.

ARE YOU A PSYCHOLOGIST AND DO YOU WANT MORE TELEHEALTH OPPORTUNITIES TO MORE STATES?

If your state hasn’t passed PSYPACT and doesn’t have active PSYPACT legislation currently, don’t wait for someone else to do it- start working with your state association to get things moving. Also, don’t take it as a given that legislation will be passed or signed by the Governor of your state- you must make your voice heard. For example, in Michigan PSYPACT passed the state’s House and Senate (unanimously in the Senate) only to be vetoed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer (Boo!). Get active with your state association to get PSYPACT legislation introduced if it isn’t already, but then stay active and let your legislators and governor hear your voice.

 

Here is your PSYPACT resource kit.

 

…and here is your Florida Resource Kit: