|Action||Initial regulations for registration of Qualified Mental Health Professionals|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/5/2019|
OT Certification as QMHPs
I am an occupational therapy doctorate student at Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences at Mary Baldwin University. Occupational therapy uses occupation as its core means of therapeutic intervention. Occupations are those life roles and routines that have meaning to clients and can include everyday tasks such as showering, preparing meals, and getting dressed, to more complex roles such as work, education, and leisure activities. My profession was founded in the mental health field during the era of the reconstruction aids, as meaingful occupation was used to enhance quality of life and overall well-being for servicemen returning from the war. In light of our roots and how OT presently continues to be a vital tool in mental health rehabilitation, I believe OTs should receive recongnition as QMHPs in the state of Virginia.
The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) sets standards for entry-level occupational therapy education, which includes requirements for coursework and at least one fieldwork supervised by a licensed professional in mental health. I personally completed didactic coursework on mental health conditions including but not limited to major depressive disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. In addition to this course, our curriculum also requires that we complete didactic coursework specifically addressing the various psychosocial aspects of health. Through these courses I have learned evidence-based treatments to use with individuals diagnosed with mental health disorders, how to facilitate mental health treatment groups, and the valueable role that OT has in helping these clients return to community and vocational roles. At the end of that semester, I completed my fieldwork at Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg. On weekends I have also worked at Western State Hospital as part of the weekend programming staff to facilitate carry-over of the group therapy programs that occur with the weekday rehab team. I developed rapport with my clients and heard stories of how they struggled to maintain a daily routine, how they felt isolated within their community, and struggled to maintain employment, balance finances, and even cook daily meals. These struggles within this population are the core of the OT profession. We have a role. We can help.
Occupational therapists are licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine. This license states that we as occupational therapists are qualified to work in mental and physical health. Occupational therapists are more than qualified, licensed professionals to be a QMHP in the state of Virginia.
I am asking that Part II Requirements for Registration regulation 18VAC115-80-40 B.5. Requirements for registration as a QMHP-A and 18VAC115-80-50 B.4. Requirements for registration as a QMHP-C be changed to read
18VAC115-80-40 B.5. and 18VAC115-80-50 B.4. Licensure as an occupational therapist by the Board of Medicine (§ 54.1- 2900 of the Code of Virginia) with a master’s or doctoral degree, and an internship or practicum of at least 500 hours with persons with mental illness or one year of experience in a mental health setting.
Amanda McGoye, OTS
Mary Baldwin University
Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences