The results are coming in from the Georgia Telemental Health Rule. Should other states follow suit?
Georgia requires that Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Licensed Professional Counselors, who provide telemental health services, attend at least a 6 hour CE training on telemental health counseling. Clinical supervisors are required to take an additional 3 CE hour course on how to supervise telemental health counseling.
The American Mental Health Counselors Association, National Board for Certified Counselors, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, all address boundaries of competency in regards to the use of technology in their codes of ethics. They state that clinicians must to acquire the necessary training to be competent in the use of technology. Therefore, is having a rule requiring a specified amount of CE hours in telemental health counseling by a state’s licensing board necessary?
It is the state board’s responsibility to protect those within the state’s boundaries from harm. Therefore, we have a license for various healthcare professions in order to increase the probability that those providing healthcare to the public are competent to do so. Therefore, from the point of view of the state board and of a client, if having a rule requiring a specific amount of TMH training increases the competency level of a significant amount of clinicians, the rule would make sense.
When Georgia’s TeleMental Health Rule came out I was not so sure. However, after training many clinicians who attended the training in order to meet the rule’s requirement, I am convinced that the rule was very helpful, and possibly necessary. Many clinicians who have taken the training were not aware of its importance simply because they were not aware of the risk to not being compliant and knowledgeable of all of the best practices related to the use of technology within one’s practice.
Examples of these risks are those inherent in email, texting, storing client’s contact information, taking electronic payments, appropriate record keeping, assessment for fit, verifying identity, emergency management planning, having the necessary business associate agreements, practicing legally, and social media.
So, what have the results been?
An easy way to look at this is by reviewing the vast number of evaluations that we have received from participants in Georgia who took our live training in order to meet their required hours. While the specifics of the evaluations cannot be shared, and this is not the result of a scientific study, the aggregate results are informative.
Over 93% of participants stated that the course enhanced their professional experience, and over 93% also stated that they would recommend the training to others.
Granted, these results will differ depending on the provider of the training. These are only the results of our live training events in Georgia.
We want to hear from you!
If you have taken a telemental health training please share your experience.
Also, understanding that our codes of ethics already require competency, but that many clinicians are not aware of many important IT and telemental health security measures, please share your thoughts on whether or not states ought to require a specific amount of TMH training?
We have created courses to specifically meet the Georgia Telemental Health Rule.