IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND RESOURCES REGARDING COVID-19
March 26, 2020
We are learning together what it means to be resilient and resourceful. It’s like when you were a kid and someone suddenly pushed you into the deep end of the pool for the first time. What do you do? You feel exhilarated and frightened. You swallow some water. You panic for a just bit.
But then seemingly out of nowhere - your hands start dog-paddling. You hear your friends cheering you on from the side of the pool. And you begin to relax and just keep swimming. You do whatever it takes to make your way to safety. You can see the ladder. It’s going to be OK.
Friends, the TNAMFT Board could not be more proud of you as clinicians during this time of crisis and uncertainty. Tennessee has been thrust into a rapid series of shifts starting with the devastation of the tornadoes followed by the displacing developments of COVID-19. As clinicians you have upped your game in the absence of clarity and order. We’ve seen you struggle, adapt, and grow.
Remember, we are right there with you. None of us has ever been in this kind of situation. What happens to you matters to us, and as a board we have been looking out for your interests during this tumultuous period. We are eager to share information that could prove useful to you as you transition into a new world of practice.
We have collected some resources that will help you navigate the uncertainty we all face. Click on the section header to access the resources.
1. AAMFT RESOURCE PAGE. Don’t forget that AAMFT has issued a wide range of resources for you to use as you navigate ethical and legal practice from this point on. We encourage you to slowly read through the information, plan your work and then work your plan. Check your email box often for updates from AAMFT and follow the AAMFT Facebook Page.
2. CDC STATEMENT ON MENTAL HEALTH CARE. The CDC has made recommendations specific to mental health care that are located here.
3. DIRECTIVES FROM THE TN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. We have received a flood of inquiries from MFTs about the ethical and legal practice of tele-health in our state. We forwarded these questions to our MFT licensing board representative and resubmitted them up the chain of command. Though we have received varied verbal directives from the licensing board, we have received no written response in return. However, the following statement was issued late last week by Commissioner Piercey from the Department of Health. Click the header link above to access it.
Department of Health
4. TELEHEALTH LAW IN TENNESSEE. There is existing law that enables the practice of tele-health in our state.
5. TELEHEALTH REGULATIONS IN TENNESSEE. At this time, there are no regulations that specifically govern the practice of tele-health for the three professions represented on our board. The current regulations that govern our practice in Tennessee can be found in the link above.
The AAMFT Ethics Code that is referenced in our current regulations.
6. LICENSURE APPLICATION. During this time of uncertainty, the best practice for submitting your applications for a temporary MFT license or a traditional MFT license is to fill out a printed copy and mail or fax in the application to the Tennessee Board for Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Clinical Pastoral Therapists. We have been asked to request members to limit emails and calls to the licensure board.
7. REGIONAL NETWORKING. We know that resilience is relational, and we encourage you to reach out to each other for peer supervision. A Networking Task Force has been initiated to create safe spaces and support for you. We are concerned about our members located in remote areas, those not in a group practice or agency, and those who are not under the care of a supervisor.
While these planning efforts are underway, we encourage you contact your respective director on our TNAMFT Board in your geographic division. We are delighted to introduce and welcome our newly appointed director for East Tennessee, Connie Crossley.
EAST TENNESSEE DIRECTOR: Connie Crossley
Phone: (423) 312-6365
MIDDLE TENNESSEE DIRECTOR: Dr. Teri Murphy
Phone: (615) 308-1900
WEST TENNESSEE DIRECTOR: Barry Greenlee
Phone: (731) 694-6415
As you navigate this new territory, remember to consult reliable sources for information, consider best practices in your clinical judgment, and document your ethical decision-making all along the way. We will update you again when we receive reliable information.
On behalf of the board,
Robbie R. Hutchens
President, Tennessee Association for Marriage and Family Therapy