Teletherapy: More to it than you think!
Telemental health, teletherapy, telebehavioral health or whatever label is used, I am talking about the use of technology where we can treat clients at a distance, comply with HIPAA and get paid for it. Depending upon which state you practice in, some insurance companies are now accepting Teletherapy as a viable service and treatment and reimburse at the same rate for face-to-face sessions. Medicaid, and in some states Medicare, also have GT qualifier codes for Teletherapy.
I plan to add teletherapy to my practice for treating clients in Illinois (the state I am licensed) and my consulting/coaching clients throughout the world. As I researched this wonderful application I found there is a lot more to it than you think! This blog and others to follow, as well as my newsletter will feature, my research, key players, services, expert opinion and interviews.
So…. before hanging out your teletherapy shingle and starting to call clients on the phone, skyping or facetiming (none of which are appropriate nor HIPAA compliant) there are plenty of considerations:
- Do you have the appropriate training in teletherapy or distance counseling?
- Are you licensed in the State where the client is?
- Does your malpractice cover teletherapy?
- Do you have an informed consent document specific to teletherapy?
- Do you have protocols to verify client identity and insurance coverage?
- Do you have protocols for emergences?
- Do you have a video communication application that is HIPAA compliant?
You need to consult your malpractice insurance, code of ethics, state practice laws, do your due diligence and check out the links on my website for teletherapy resources
In the links you will find VP Therapy 360. I got a change to demo his product and had the privilege of interviewing Scott Allen the President and co-founder of 2Mi-Software Solutions.
2Mi-Software has a suite of cloud-based Video Communication software applications including their HIPAA compliant VPTherapy360 package which is designed specifically for mental health care professionals. Scott has held National and Multinational management and sales positions with Sony Professional Solutions, Sony Electronics, Capetronic Displays and Western Digital Corporation. He brings expertise in high-definition broadcast production and video solutions, and most recently 3D virtual reality software and services.
In my interview I asked Scott, “What should I look for in a Video Communication application?”
He stated, “First and foremost, be sure it is HIPAA / HITECH Compliant. A Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with your provider is a must as is the ability to provide via paper trail that Teletherapy sessions were provided. The application should be easy to use, scalable for your practice needs, and compatible with hardware devices, operating systems and browsers. Cloud based applications that require no software download, no local storage of data, or registration by patients are preferred. Consistent High Quality Video and Audio connection is most critical.
VPTherapy360 is designed for YOUR PRACTICE AND YOUR PATEINTS. 100% dedicated bandwidth, storage and processing that is both affordable and HIPAA compliant. Mental health experts such as psychiatrist, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, counselors, and therapists are seeing their patients in a whole new, yet entirely familiar, way with VPTherapy360.
VPTherapy360 Video & Contact Page
The rest of his Q and A along with a product review (5 out of 5 stars) will be in the next newsletter. Thanks Scott!