Mental Health Care:

Licensing and Certification Requirements for Staff in State Hospitals

HRD-87-38FS: Published: Jan 29, 1987. Publicly Released: Mar 4, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on states' minimum licensing and certification requirements for physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses who work directly with patients in state mental hospitals.

GAO found that, of the responding states: (1) 39 percent require licenses for physicians and nurses; (2) 27 percent require a license or certification for psychologists; (3) 15 percent require that psychiatrists, in addition to being licensed, be board eligible or board certified; (4) 13 percent require licensing, certification, or registration for social workers; and (5) most permit physicians who are not board-eligible or board-certified psychiatrists to provide psychiatric services.

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