Emergency Temporary License and Disaster Preparedness

The Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council is fully aware of the devastation and loss that disasters such as hurricanes, floods, fires, and pandemics can bring to Texas and its citizens.  As a result, the following information is being provided to expedite the response by out-of-state behavioral health providers when responding to a disaster in Texas, as well as assist licensees with preparing for the next disaster.

Emergency Temporary License for Practice Within a Declared Disaster Area

In the event the Governor declares a disaster and issues a proclamation suspending regulatory statutes and rules which would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the declared disaster, out-of-state license holders may have an opportunity to assist Texas citizens by obtaining an Emergency Temporary License pursuant to 22 TAC 882.70.  Currently all BHEC licensing statutes are in effect and no Emergency Temporary Licenses are available.  Should that change, this page will be updated and an application process for the Emergency Temporary License will be provided.

Limited Unlicensed Practice Authorized During a Declared Disaster

An out-of-state marriage and family therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychological associate, specialist in school psychology, or social worker may practice in Texas for the purpose of rendering aid in response to a declared disaster, provided the individual holds a current license or certification in good standing in his or her home state.  See Section 418.171 of the Government Code.  Good standing means there is not current disciplinary action on your out-of-state license(s).

Therefore, any out-of-state marriage and family therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychological associate, specialist in school psychology, or social worker with a license or certification in good standing is not required to hold a Texas license (including an Emergency Temporary License) in order to practice as part of a disaster relief effort in any of those counties identified in the Governor’s disaster declaration.  It should be noted however, that this limited authority to practice during a declared disaster terminates upon the lifting or expiration of the Governor’s disaster declaration.

To assist individuals who are practicing with an Emergency Temporary License or under the authority granted by Section 418.171 of the Government Code with determining whether a disaster declaration is still in effect, the Council offers the following information. The following list reflects only those declared disasters for which the Council has been granted a suspension of a rule or statute.

Declared Disaster Area(s) Affected Original Issuance Date Expiration Date

While the Council will make every reasonable effort to update and maintain the accuracy of the information in this chart, you are encouraged to review the governor’s proclamations webpage for the most current information on disaster declarations.

Volunteer Registration and Disaster Preparedness

Licensees wishing to volunteer with the recovery efforts in any disaster may contact the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry, The American Red Cross, OneStar Foundation, or their national, state or local associations to inquire about volunteer opportunities.

The Council would also encourage all of its licensees to explore registering with the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry, the Medical Reserve Corps, or the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals.  Advance registration and preparation will not only reduce the administrative burden of verifying volunteers’ identity and credentials during a disaster, but more importantly, it will help ensure your professional skills are brought to bear on those affected by the disaster as quickly as possible.