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Home Offices for Telehealth Clinical Practices

 

You may have switched your practice to telehealth-only sessions when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and – like many in America – you are still working from home. You also may be paying rent for an office you’re no longer using. 

Why not just give up the office and work from home for the foreseeable future? Can you continue your practice as a telehealth-only home-based business? Is it just a matter of filling out a few change-of-address forms and ending your lease? 

Here are some things to keep in mind before switching to a telehealth-only home office:

Insurance panels All of the major insurance companies including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Humana, and Cigna have been covering telehealth-only behavioral health sessions for the past few months. Some are even reimbursing behavioral health clinicians for phone sessions, something some insurance payers didn’t cover in the pre-COVID era. Some payers do require you to fill out a form to register as a telehealth provider. 

If you accept insurance and Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) clients, call the provider contacts for each insurance company to let them know you won’t be seeing clients in person again for the foreseeable future. Tell them you are closing your external office. Ask if there are any special forms you need to complete. Also, you will need to submit paperwork or fill out a form online to change your address.

One major resource to help you get in touch with insurance payers is Availity. The claims clearinghouse and health information network has launched a COVID-19 Provider Resource Center that tracks updates from more than 50 payers. It has payer contact information, telehealth guidelines along with patient eligibility, coding, and claims processing. You can use this portal’s “payer spaces” to help contact insurance companies.

Changing your address Expect to spend several hours updating your address on your website, your business cards and marketing materials, any websites you advertise on, credentialing databases, your state licensing board, etc. Also, if you network with other practitioners for referrals, let them know you are now a telehealth-only provider. As mentioned above, if you are on insurance panels, you will need to reach out to each payer to change your address.

Privacy concerns Since your home is now your business address, this may raise privacy issues for you and your family. If you are a telehealth-only clinician, there is no reason to give your clients your home address, but you may want to make certain it’s not listed on insurance portals if you are concerned about clients knowing where you live. You might consider a virtual address or using a P.O. box, but check with insurance payers to make sure they are OK with this, especially if you are going to receive client information in the mail.

Tax deductions You may be able to deduct the space used for your home office as a business expense. Check with your accountant and refer to the IRS website

Zoning Many local governments require a business license for home offices – even if you don’t intend to see clients in your home. Some homeowners associations also have restrictions on home offices. Check with your local zoning office, and with your HOA to make sure you’re following all rules, laws, and regulations.

Liability insurance Reach out to your liability insurance provider to make sure your telehealth practice is covered. Update your policy to drop coverage for your old office.

Saying goodbye Giving up your old office may be sad. You likely spent considerable time and energy finding the office space and then decorating it to create a comfortable space for you and your clients. It may even cost you money to get out of your lease. Be prepared for some emotional stress. But remind yourself your telehealth practice is what’s best for you and your clients during these trying times. And now you get to decorate again – at home. 

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Course was very informative!
David Hopkins
MS, LPC / Thriveworks Woodstock
Informative and brief
Tracy Gilbert
Well designed. informative, comprehensive program broken down into manageable segments.
Dawn M. Miskus
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) / Conscious Counseling & Coaching, Ltd.
This course offered a great overview of TeleMental Health and the important considerations that should be addressed when establishing an online practice.
Helen Geris
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Wonderful and approachable presenter, great information!
Sabrina Eads
I have completed the course requirements. Thank you a great program of videos and information.
Linda Lovisi-Dwyer
LCSW-R / Linda Lovisi-Dwyer, LCSW-R
Good introduction
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Very clear emergency planning laid out in this course, Helpful for many situation and settings.
Jane Schindler
The course was detailed.
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EXCELLENT PRESENTATION
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Really chuck full of information and very helpful
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social work
Great course!
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Ray's program is engaging and informative. I'm excited to extend my professional reach online.
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Very informative session.

Valrey Richards-Lucas

Video was good, a little slow

Jessica Walraven

This is great material!

Erika T Johnson

Very Informative!!!!

DALAYNA MILLER

Really good training so far!

Erika T Johnson
LAC

Excellent information, extremely generous resources and so well paced. I am really grateful.

Carolyn Spencer
LCSW / Carolyn Spencer

Very thorough and informative

DALAYNA MILLER

This program is very informative and easy to use.

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Love the convenience and easy-to-understand information in this course.

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Very informative. Help give an overview of tele therapy and starting an online practice.

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The course was easy to follow and provided a lot of valuable insight into the benefits and limitations to teletherapy.

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Wonderfully compact and rich in information, many areas i had not even considered!

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Very informative and guiding in educating all that you need to grasp to be properly compliant and aware.
Dena Damaskinos
A great overview for telehealth, including state to state
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Great presentation!

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Oustanding presentation!!!
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Helpful and inviting information to get started. Feel empowered to get this going and eager to start!

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Well presented, easy to access and understand.

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This was very informative.

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This course was full of detailed information, that I will utilize in my practice. I highly recommend this training to all interested in adding to their existing practice or transitioning to Telehealth Services.
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Class was informative.
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This course was short yet informative.
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Great training!
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Ray was a wonderful, interactive instructor who really captured the heart of counseling in the world of Telehealth. The course was thorough and beneficial. Two thumbs up!
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Ray does a spectacular job presenting the ethics in technology! Thank you!
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Very beneficial and useful to the direction i am moving of providing therapy
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I thought the video was very informative and gave me a good back ground on Telehealth , hippa laws and things I needed to know to run an ethical and hippa complent practice .
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I believe this is a good course to take because this is the new wave of society. As a therapist I would like to be able to offer clients the best tools available.

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Thank you for the introduction to telemental health.

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Very good.

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Really excellent training full of valuable information and resources - surpassed my expectations!

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Great information with step by step instructions

Donna Tucker
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What a superb introduction to telemental health, well organized and packed with useful tips. I so appreciate this. Thank you.

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Awesome job! This is a very insightful presentation.

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Ray is down-to-earth, warm, pragmatic and exceptionally well-informed.
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An excellent course, but needs more legal information regarding where the patient needs to reside.

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This legal course was phenomenal saturated with much detail and clarity!
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Great and very informative! Will help me take my skills to a new level. Gave me a great idea of how the session should go.
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Course provided several case scenarios regarding Interstate counseling and resource websites for further research.

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Course provided additional information regarding the legal aspects of TeleMental Health.
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I have completed prior training by Raymond and greatly appreciate his detailed and thorough trainings.
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This course was most helpful in helping me make my practice more compliant for me and my clients.
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This is the 4th TMH course I have taken with Ray and it is BY FAR the best TMH training out there. I've learned so much that I can use every day in my practice.
Dawn Ferrara
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Very Informative

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I loved this course. It was very informative and provide a great deal of information about ethics.
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Easy to learn and easy to follow. User friendly on-line course.
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Awesome

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This was a phenomenal training and necessary for the continued growth of all helping professionals. This will certainly improve the manner in which I conduct counseling.
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This training was extremely informative and supportive for professionals looking to gain further knowledge in Telemental health.
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I found this video to be very informative and helpful.
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Great course, very informative!

Ashley Simmons
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Love the course, worth every penny!!! Definitely helped jump start my Tele-mental health services!

Nakia Clark
Owner/ Therapist / Insightfullly You, LLC

This gave me and my staff some important insights and information regarding telehealth..

Larry Cowan
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This course was easy and user friendly

Vanessa Reiser
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I learned a great deal from this program and look forward to implementing telemental health in my therapy practice.

Michelle Hitchcock
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It was fantastic! Just the forms he provides are worth the cost of the course!

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This was an excellent class and worth my time.  Ray provided great information and is clearly an expert in TMH!

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I found these courses informative and helpful. They make establishing best practices policies and procedures for telemental health services and supervising those who provide them. so much easier. I highly recommend his courses.

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Ray's workshop was one of the most informative I have taken in years. He brought clarity to took a topic which has been intimidating and I left feeling empowered!

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Clinical Supervisor and Play Therapist / Georgia Association for Play Therapy