SB320 SD1: Working group to study psychologists compact would be step forward

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the House Committee on Health & Homelessness on March 15, 2023.

March 15, 2023
8:30 a.m.
Conference Room 329

To: House Committee on Health & Homelessness
      Rep. Della Au Belatti, Chair
      Rep. Jenna Takenouchi, Vice Chair

From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
           Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns


Comments Only

Dear Chair and Committee Members:

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on SB320 SD1, which would create a working group to review the feasibility and possible consequences of Hawaii joining the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT).

According to the Physician Workforce 2023 annual report, Hawaii has a 45.2% shortage of adult psychiatrists and a 42.8% shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists.[1]

But the shortage extends far beyond psychiatrists alone. Hawaii employed 66 school psychologists in 2022 — for a ratio of one school psychologist for every 2,800 students. The National Association of School Psychologists suggests a 1 to 500 ratio.[2]

As we discuss in a new policy brief “How changing Hawaii’s licensing laws could improve healthcare access,” licensing compacts are one reform that might make it easier for Hawaii to attract and retain healthcare professionals.[3]

“Joining multiple interstate compacts could be the simplest route to address the difficulties medical professionals face in moving to Hawaii.

“Most important, the compact approach has support from within the medical community,” the report states.

Numerous other states have adopted this compact and others, and the various compact commissions are more than happy to assist state regulators in the implementation phase.

Even though this bill does not outright adopt PSYPACT, we hope that the working group will examine the costs and benefits of joining the compact and that the Legislature might consider it again next session.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments.


Ted Kefalas
Director of Strategic Campaigns,
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

[1] Annual Report on Findings from the Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Assessment Project,” University of Hawaii System, Dec. 2022, p. 17.

[2] Jessica Terrell, “Hawaii Has A Shortage Of School Psychologists. National Research Says That’s A Problem,” Honolulu Civil Beat, Sept. 17, 2022.

[3] Malia Hill, “How changing Hawaii’s licensing laws could improve healthcare access,” Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, February 2023.

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