The Board recognizes the current impact of COVID-19 on our communities. The COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly evolving. Information and recommendations from Governor Walz, the MN Department of Health (MDH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are changing as new information becomes available. The Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy, as a state agency, is taking precautions by following the direction and guidance of the Governor's office.
At the present time, the BBHT office remains open as Governor Walz has not closed state agencies. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, BBHT has cancelled office hours until further notice, but BBHT works to maintain regular business as usual. There may be delays in the response times as inquiries have increased and staffing resources have shifted due to the COVID-19 situation.
Based on the need for "social distancing" and Governor Walz's Executive Orders to create safety measures, the Board recognizes there may be an impact on practice, education, licensing supervision, and continuing education. Given this rapidly changing situation the Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy is doing its best to respond to issues. The Board is committed to considering reasonable measures to accommodate situations that arise, particularly the issues noted below. As we continue to become aware of issues, staff are bringing issues to the Board for their attention and possible response for what is feasible and authorized under law.
Continuing Education (CE) requirements: Licensees report CE conferences being cancelled based on social distancing and recommendations from MDH and the Governor. The Board recognizes this may impact the opportunity to earn CE hours required for license renewal. Please note:
- LADC Licensees may complete all their CE hours completely online.
- LPC/LPCC licensees may complete CE through interactive or other online media activities. Online activities will count as in-person CE and are not considered home study activities.
Licensing Supervision and Practicum Supervision requirements: Licensees and supervisors report challenges with providing and receiving in-person licensing supervision, based on social distancing precautions and disruptions within agencies. Please note:
- Field experiences (practicum) requirements for licensure are all in statute, for all license types, preventing the Board from waiving or reducing the hours due to COVID-19.
- The statutes related to supervised field experience do not require the 700/880 hours must be completed in-person. Due to this, Tele Mental Health is a feasible option during this time.
- Supervised professional practice can be completed electronically. Upon submitting licensure applications and completion of supervision forms, licensees must submit a variance request to the Board to accept the electronic supervision due to COVID-19.
Licensing Examinations: Applicants report challenges in completing the licensing examinations based on social distancing precautions. Please note:
- Completion of the licensing examination is in statute which prevents the Board from waiving its completion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Fortunately, all current licensure applications received by the Board will remain open until all licensing requirements have been met.
Resources for Tele Mental Health:
The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy recognizes that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many providers are transitioning to the provision of telehealth in order to continue providing services to clients as best they are able. To aid in this transition, the Board would like to share some resources that may ease the burden during this time of need.
Minnesota law (Minnesota Statutes section 148B.592, subdivision 5) related to professional counselors allows nonresident providers to provide services to Minnesota clients for up to 30 calendar days in a year (days do not have to be consecutive).
The Board's regulations related to client privacy obligates licensees to safeguard client data and client privacy. The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published a Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications during the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency. With respect to telehealth remote communications references in the notice, the Board will consider HHS guidance as the professional standard to which licensees will be held during this National Public Health Emergency.
Criminal Background Checks
Minnesota law now requires that all applicants for initial licensure and license reinstatement complete a fingerprint based criminal background check (Minnesota Statutes section 214.075).
Criminal Background Check Fee Increase from $32 to $33.25
Effective January 1, 2019, the Criminal Background Check fee will increase from $32 to $33.25 due to an increase in the FBI portion of the fee. All applicants for initial licensure and applicants for relicensure after a lapse must complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check under Minnesota Statutes section 214.075. The Criminal Background Check fee is bundled with the application fee when applying for licensure or reactivation.
Instructions about the criminal background check process, including how to submit your fingerprints, will be emailed to you by the Criminal Background Check Program after your application and fee have been received by the BBHT office. Please do not submit fingerprints before receiving this email.
Criminal Background Check (CBC) Exception:
Under Minnesota Statutes section 14.075, subdivision 1, an applicant is exempt from submitting to a Criminal Background Check if the applicant previously submitted a state or national criminal history records check for a license issued by BBHT. Applicants who fall under this exemption, will only be required to pay the non-refundable initial application and licensure fees.
The Minnesota Department of Health Office of Rural Health and Primary Care administers a loan forgiveness program that is funded by the State of Minnesota. For more information about the program, please see the links below: