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Stand Against Restricting Remote Counseling for Texans-Tell the LPC Board to Vote No!

This petition made change with 135 supporters!


Do you think it is just and fair that mentally ill Texans should be required to drive to an office to start treatment before they are allowed to meet with a counselor online via secure video, even if they have disability or other circumstances which prevents them from traveling to get treatment?

On February 14th the licensing board for Texas mental health counselors will close public comments before a vote on a proposed rule requiring mentally ill Texans to first travel physically to a counselor's office to initiate treatment before they can access remote video services—an impossibility for many thousands of Texans, which would disproportionately affect the sick or disabled, veterans, rural residents with few or no local mental health care options, Texans residing abroad, workers with restrictive schedules, single parents and caregivers, as well as those requiring a specialist not available in their local area, among others with barriers preventing access to traditional in-office treatment.

Texans deserve to be on par with all other US citizens in their choices and access to mental health care! The new rule would prevent thousands of Texans from getting potentially life-saving mental health care remotely in the privacy of their own home for years to come if passed. The proposed rule reverses current policy which allows any Texan to remotely access mental health care via secure online video counseling if they can’t travel to the counselor’s office. Thousands of Texans would lose equal access to mental health care services if they must first meet this hurdle.

This change would undermine equality, restrict choice and access, and roll back progress towards increased access to mental health care, especially for the the most disadvantaged Texanssign this petition to tell the Texas counselors licensing board to vote no on this unjust rule!

The public comment period for voicing objections to the proposed change ends soon. Urgent action is required to stop the roll-back of progress for mentally ill Texans in critical need of remote access through technology-assisted services.

What you can do:

1)     Sign the petition letter below which goes straight the decision makers' Inboxes!

2)     Comment your own words telling why this issue is important to you and those you care about!

3)     Spread the word about your concern for this important issue via Facebook, Twitter, and email--multiply your impact for mentally ill Texans!

4)     Amplify your voice by sending your own respectful comments to the Texas counseling board by the Feb 14th deadline to: lpc@dshs.state.tx.us "Comments on Proposed Rules" in the subject line.

Thank you for supporting equality of access for mental health care for Texans everywhere!

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Letter to Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors Executive Committee

Dear Texas LPC Executive Board Members:

I object to the discriminatory and unethical proposed rule change for distance counseling which threatens the welfare of Texans. The proposed rule discriminates against Texas citizens with limited means or ability to travel to initiate treatment in a counselor’s office, undermines mental health equality for Texans, and is anti-competitive, restricting health consumer choice in Texas. The proposed rule unduly hampers Texas LPCs’ practice compared with other mental health care providers and is redundant since current Board rules clearly mandate the competent and ethical practice of distance counseling already. Moreover, the proposed rule is out of step with federal health reform initiatives to decrease state regulatory barriers to telehealth services. The rule would pose an insurmountable hurdle or hardship disproportionately affecting the sick or disabled, veterans, rural residents with few or no local mental health care options, Texans residing abroad, workers with restrictive schedules, single parents and caregivers, as well as those requiring a specialist not available in their local area, among others with barriers preventing access to traditional in-office treatment.

Not only is the proposed change to the Board rule for Texas counselors discriminatory and not in the best interest of mentally ill Texans, as well as their families and Texas employers who rely on them, it is not supported by a research consensus establishing behavioral telehealth treatment effectiveness as on par with treatment delivered in the traditional office setting and which does not distinguish between treatment initiation methods. Texas residents at home and around the globe deserve ready and equal access to mental health counseling services and to enjoy the same choices for mental health services as residents of other states. 

Restricting the use of technology for counseling which promises the advancement of access to mental health care is clearly the wrong direction for Texas citizens. I urge you to respect and protect equal access to mental health counseling services for all Texans by rejecting the unnecessary, unfair, unsupported, and unethical proposed rule and allow the current rule on distance counseling to stand.

Sincerely,

[Signer's Name]



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