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California

Counselors

Source

California Code of Regulations 

Title 16. Professional and Vocational Regulations

Division 18. Board of Behavioral Sciences

Article 1. General Provisions 

16 CCR § 1815.5. Standards of Practice for Telehealth.

(a) All persons engaging in the practice of marriage and family therapy, educational psychology, clinical social work, or professional clinical counseling via telehealth, as defined in Section 2290.5 of the Code, with a client who is physically located in this State must have a valid and current license or registration issued by the Board.

(b) All psychotherapy services offered by board licensees and registrants via telehealth fall within the jurisdiction of the board just as traditional face-to-face services do. Therefore, all psychotherapy services offered via telehealth are subject to the board's statutes and regulations.

(c) Upon initiation of telehealth services, a licensee or registrant shall do the following:

(1) Obtain informed consent from the client consistent with Section 2290.5 of the Code.

(2) Inform the client of the potential risks and limitations of receiving treatment via telehealth.

(3) Provide the client with his or her license or registration number and the type of license or registration.

(4) Document reasonable efforts made to ascertain the contact information of relevant resources, including emergency services, in the patient's geographic area.

(d) Each time a licensee or registrant provides services via telehealth, he or she shall do the following:

(1) Verbally obtain from the client and document the client's full name and address of the present location, at the beginning of each telehealth session.

(2) Assess whether the client is appropriate for telehealth, including, but not limited to, consideration of the client's psychosocial situation.

(3) Utilize industry best practices for telehealth to ensure both client confidentiality and the security of the communication medium.

(e) A licensee or registrant of this state may provide telehealth services to clients located in another jurisdiction only if the California licensee or registrant meets the requirements to lawfully provide services in that jurisdiction, and delivery of services via telehealth is allowed by that jurisdiction.

(f) Failure to comply with these provisions shall be considered unprofessional conduct.

Note: Authority cited: Sections 4980.60 and 4990.20, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Sections 2290.5, 4980, 4989.50, 4996, 4999.30 and 4999.82, Business and Professions Code.

For all behavioral health professionals:

BPC - 2290.5.

(a) For purposes of this division, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Asynchronous store and forward” means the transmission of a patient’s medical information from an originating site to the health care provider at a distant site without the presence of the patient.

(2) “Distant site” means a site where a health care provider who provides health care services is located while providing these services via a telecommunications system.

(3) “Health care provider” means either of the following:

(A) A person who is licensed under this division.

(B) A marriage and family therapist intern or trainee functioning pursuant to Section 4980.43.

(4) “Originating site” means a site where a patient is located at the time health care services are provided via a telecommunications system or where the asynchronous store and forward service originates.

(5) “Synchronous interaction” means a real-time interaction between a patient and a health care provider located at a distant site.

(6) “Telehealth” means the mode of delivering health care services and public health via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care while the patient is at the originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site. Telehealth facilitates patient self-management and caregiver support for patients and includes synchronous interactions and asynchronous store and forward transfers.

(b) Prior to the delivery of health care via telehealth, the health care provider initiating the use of telehealth shall inform the patient about the use of telehealth and obtain verbal or written consent from the patient for the use of telehealth as an acceptable mode of delivering health care services and public health. The consent shall be documented.

(c) Nothing in this section shall preclude a patient from receiving in-person health care delivery services during a specified course of health care and treatment after agreeing to receive services via telehealth.

(d) The failure of a health care provider to comply with this section shall constitute unprofessional conduct. Section 2314 shall not apply to this section.

(e) This section shall not be construed to alter the scope of practice of any health care provider or authorize the delivery of health care services in a setting, or in a manner, not otherwise authorized by law.

(f) All laws regarding the confidentiality of health care information and a patient’s rights to his or her medical information shall apply to telehealth interactions.

(g) This section shall not apply to a patient under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or any other correctional facility.

(h) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and for purposes of this section, the governing body of the hospital whose patients are receiving the telehealth services may grant privileges to, and verify and approve credentials for, providers of telehealth services based on its medical staff recommendations that rely on information provided by the distant-site hospital or telehealth entity, as described in Sections 482.12, 482.22, and 485.616 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(2) By enacting this subdivision, it is the intent of the Legislature to authorize a hospital to grant privileges to, and verify and approve credentials for, providers of telehealth services as described in paragraph (1).

(3) For the purposes of this subdivision, “telehealth” shall include “telemedicine” as the term is referenced in Sections 482.12, 482.22, and 485.616 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 50, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2016.)

Social Workers

Source

California Code of Regulations 

Title 16. Professional and Vocational Regulations

Division 18. Board of Behavioral Sciences

Article 1. General Provisions 

16 CCR § 1815.5. Standards of Practice for Telehealth.

 

(a) All persons engaging in the practice of marriage and family therapy, educational psychology, clinical social work, or professional clinical counseling via telehealth, as defined in Section 2290.5 of the Code, with a client who is physically located in this State must have a valid and current license or registration issued by the Board.

(b) All psychotherapy services offered by board licensees and registrants via telehealth fall within the jurisdiction of the board just as traditional face-to-face services do. Therefore, all psychotherapy services offered via telehealth are subject to the board's statutes and regulations.

(c) Upon initiation of telehealth services, a licensee or registrant shall do the following:

(1) Obtain informed consent from the client consistent with Section 2290.5 of the Code.

(2) Inform the client of the potential risks and limitations of receiving treatment via telehealth.

(3) Provide the client with his or her license or registration number and the type of license or registration.

(4) Document reasonable efforts made to ascertain the contact information of relevant resources, including emergency services, in the patient's geographic area.

(d) Each time a licensee or registrant provides services via telehealth, he or she shall do the following:

(1) Verbally obtain from the client and document the client's full name and address of present location, at the beginning of each telehealth session.

(2) Assess whether the client is appropriate for telehealth, including, but not limited to, consideration of the client's psychosocial situation.

(3) Utilize industry best practices for telehealth to ensure both client confidentiality and the security of the communication medium.

(e) A licensee or registrant of this state may provide telehealth services to clients located in another jurisdiction only if the California licensee or registrant meets the requirements to lawfully provide services in that jurisdiction, and delivery of services via telehealth is allowed by that jurisdiction.

(f) Failure to comply with these provisions shall be considered unprofessional conduct.

Note: Authority cited: Sections 4980.60 and 4990.20, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Sections 2290.5, 4980, 4989.50, 4996, 4999.30 and 4999.82, Business and Professions Code.

For all behavioral health professionals:

BPC - 2290.5.

(a) For purposes of this division, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Asynchronous store and forward” means the transmission of a patient’s medical information from an originating site to the health care provider at a distant site without the presence of the patient.

(2) “Distant site” means a site where a health care provider who provides health care services is located while providing these services via a telecommunications system.

(3) “Health care provider” means either of the following:

(A) A person who is licensed under this division.

(B) A marriage and family therapist intern or trainee functioning pursuant to Section 4980.43.

(4) “Originating site” means a site where a patient is located at the time health care services are provided via a telecommunications system or where the asynchronous store and forward service originates.

(5) “Synchronous interaction” means a real-time interaction between a patient and a health care provider located at a distant site.

(6) “Telehealth” means the mode of delivering health care services and public health via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care while the patient is at the originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site. Telehealth facilitates patient self-management and caregiver support for patients and includes synchronous interactions and asynchronous store and forward transfers.

(b) Prior to the delivery of health care via telehealth, the health care provider initiating the use of telehealth shall inform the patient about the use of telehealth and obtain verbal or written consent from the patient for the use of telehealth as an acceptable mode of delivering health care services and public health. The consent shall be documented.

(c) Nothing in this section shall preclude a patient from receiving in-person health care delivery services during a specified course of health care and treatment after agreeing to receive services via telehealth.

(d) The failure of a health care provider to comply with this section shall constitute unprofessional conduct. Section 2314 shall not apply to this section.

(e) This section shall not be construed to alter the scope of practice of any health care provider or authorize the delivery of health care services in a setting, or in a manner, not otherwise authorized by law.

(f) All laws regarding the confidentiality of health care information and a patient’s rights to his or her medical information shall apply to telehealth interactions.

(g) This section shall not apply to a patient under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or any other correctional facility.

(h) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and for purposes of this section, the governing body of the hospital whose patients are receiving the telehealth services may grant privileges to, and verify and approve credentials for, providers of telehealth services based on its medical staff recommendations that rely on information provided by the distant-site hospital or telehealth entity, as described in Sections 482.12, 482.22, and 485.616 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(2) By enacting this subdivision, it is the intent of the Legislature to authorize a hospital to grant privileges to, and verify and approve credentials for, providers of telehealth services as described in paragraph (1).

(3) For the purposes of this subdivision, “telehealth” shall include “telemedicine” as the term is referenced in Sections 482.12, 482.22, and 485.616 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 50, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2016.)

Marriage and Family Therapists

Source

California Code of Regulations 

Title 16. Professional and Vocational Regulations

Division 18. Board of Behavioral Sciences

Article 1. General Provisions 

16 CCR § 1815.5. Standards of Practice for Telehealth.

(a) All persons engaging in the practice of marriage and family therapy, educational psychology, clinical social work, or professional clinical counseling via telehealth, as defined in Section 2290.5 of the Code, with a client who is physically located in this State must have a valid and current license or registration issued by the Board.

(b) All psychotherapy services offered by board licensees and registrants via telehealth fall within the jurisdiction of the board just as traditional face-to-face services do. Therefore, all psychotherapy services offered via telehealth are subject to the board's statutes and regulations.

(c) Upon initiation of telehealth services, a licensee or registrant shall do the following:

(1) Obtain informed consent from the client consistent with Section 2290.5 of the Code.

(2) Inform the client of the potential risks and limitations of receiving treatment via telehealth.

(3) Provide the client with his or her license or registration number and the type of license or registration.

(4) Document reasonable efforts made to ascertain the contact information of relevant resources, including emergency services, in the patient's geographic area.

(d) Each time a licensee or registrant provides services via telehealth, he or she shall do the following:

(1) Verbally obtain from the client and document the client's full name and address of present location, at the beginning of each telehealth session.

(2) Assess whether the client is appropriate for telehealth, including, but not limited to, consideration of the client's psychosocial situation.

(3) Utilize industry best practices for telehealth to ensure both client confidentiality and the security of the communication medium.

(e) A licensee or registrant of this state may provide telehealth services to clients located in another jurisdiction only if the California licensee or registrant meets the requirements to lawfully provide services in that jurisdiction, and delivery of services via telehealth is allowed by that jurisdiction.

(f) Failure to comply with these provisions shall be considered unprofessional conduct.

Note: Authority cited: Sections 4980.60 and 4990.20, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Sections 2290.5, 4980, 4989.50, 4996, 4999.30 and 4999.82, Business and Professions Code.

For all behavioral health professionals:

BPC - 2290.5.

(a) For purposes of this division, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Asynchronous store and forward” means the transmission of a patient’s medical information from an originating site to the health care provider at a distant site without the presence of the patient.

(2) “Distant site” means a site where a health care provider who provides health care services is located while providing these services via a telecommunications system.

(3) “Health care provider” means either of the following:

(A) A person who is licensed under this division.

(B) A marriage and family therapist intern or trainee functioning pursuant to Section 4980.43.

(4) “Originating site” means a site where a patient is located at the time health care services are provided via a telecommunications system or where the asynchronous store and forward service originates.

(5) “Synchronous interaction” means a real-time interaction between a patient and a health care provider located at a distant site.

(6) “Telehealth” means the mode of delivering health care services and public health via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care while the patient is at the originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site. Telehealth facilitates patient self-management and caregiver support for patients and includes synchronous interactions and asynchronous store and forward transfers.

(b) Prior to the delivery of health care via telehealth, the health care provider initiating the use of telehealth shall inform the patient about the use of telehealth and obtain verbal or written consent from the patient for the use of telehealth as an acceptable mode of delivering health care services and public health. The consent shall be documented.

(c) Nothing in this section shall preclude a patient from receiving in-person health care delivery services during a specified course of health care and treatment after agreeing to receive services via telehealth.

(d) The failure of a health care provider to comply with this section shall constitute unprofessional conduct. Section 2314 shall not apply to this section.

(e) This section shall not be construed to alter the scope of practice of any health care provider or authorize the delivery of health care services in a setting, or in a manner, not otherwise authorized by law.

(f) All laws regarding the confidentiality of health care information and a patient’s rights to his or her medical information shall apply to telehealth interactions.

(g) This section shall not apply to a patient under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or any other correctional facility.

(h) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and for purposes of this section, the governing body of the hospital whose patients are receiving the telehealth services may grant privileges to, and verify and approve credentials for, providers of telehealth services based on its medical staff recommendations that rely on information provided by the distant-site hospital or telehealth entity, as described in Sections 482.12, 482.22, and 485.616 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(2) By enacting this subdivision, it is the intent of the Legislature to authorize a hospital to grant privileges to, and verify and approve credentials for, providers of telehealth services as described in paragraph (1).

(3) For the purposes of this subdivision, “telehealth” shall include “telemedicine” as the term is referenced in Sections 482.12, 482.22, and 485.616 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 50, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2016.)

Psychologists

Source

“CA licensure is required to provide telehealth services to CA residents; telehealth includes live interactive and store & forward

technologies; patient’s verbal consent must be obtained prior to delivery of telehealth services & documented in patient’s record.

Failure to obtain patient consent in advance constitutes unprofessional conduct.”

Source

2903 

"(a) No person may engage in the practice of psychology, or represent himself or herself to be a psychologist, without a license granted under this chapter, except as otherwise provided in this chapter. The practice of psychology is defined as rendering or offering to render to individuals, groups, organizations, or the public any psychological service involving the application of psychological principles, methods, and procedures of understanding, predicting, and influencing behavior, such as the principles pertaining to learning, perception, motivation, emotions, and interpersonal relationships; and the methods and procedures of interviewing, counseling, psychotherapy, behavior modification, and hypnosis; and of constructing, administering, and interpreting tests of mental abilities, aptitudes, interests, attitudes, personality characteristics, emotions, and motivations.

(b) The application of these principles and methods includes, but is not restricted to: assessment, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and intervention to increase effective functioning of individuals, groups, and organizations.

(c) Psychotherapy within the meaning of this chapter means the use of psychological methods in a professional relationship to assist a person or persons to acquire greater human effectiveness or to modify feelings, conditions, attitudes, and behaviors that are emotionally, intellectually, or socially ineffectual or maladaptive.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 529, Sec. 1. (AB 1374) Effective January 1, 2016.)

2903.1.  A psychologist licensed under this chapter may use biofeedback instruments which do not pierce or cut the skin to measure physical and mental functioning.

(Added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 734.)

2904.  The practice of psychology shall not include prescribing drugs, performing surgery or administering electroconvulsive therapy.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1967, Ch. 1677.)

2904.5.  A psychologist licensed under this chapter is a licentiate for purposes of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 805, and thus is a health care provider subject to the provisions of Section 2290.5.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 799, Sec. 17. (SB 1575) Effective January 1, 2013.)

2905.  The practice of psychology shall be as defined as in Section 2903, any existing statute in the State of California to the contrary notwithstanding."

Refer to the source provided for all requirements and limitations.

Psychiatrists

Source

CA Business & Professions Code Sec. 2290.5. 

"(6) “Telehealth” means the mode of delivering health care services and public health via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care. Telehealth facilitates patient self-management and caregiver support for patients and includes synchronous interactions and asynchronous store and forward transfers.

(b) Before the delivery of health care via telehealth, the health care provider initiating the use of telehealth shall inform the patient about the use of telehealth and obtain verbal or written consent from the patient for the use of telehealth as an acceptable mode of delivering health care services and public health. The consent shall be documented.

(c) This section does not preclude a patient from receiving in-person health care delivery services during a specified course of health care and treatment after agreeing to receive services via telehealth.

(d) The failure of a health care provider to comply with this section shall constitute unprofessional conduct. Section 2314 shall not apply to this section.

(e) This section shall not be construed to alter the scope of practice of a health care provider or authorize the delivery of health care services in a setting, or in a manner, not otherwise authorized by law.

(f) All laws regarding the confidentiality of health care information and a patient’s rights to the patient’s medical information shall apply to telehealth interactions.

(g) All laws and regulations governing professional responsibility, unprofessional conduct, and standards of practice that apply to a health care provider under the health care provider’s license shall apply to that health care provider while providing telehealth services.

(h) This section shall not apply to a patient under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or any other correctional facility.

(i) (1) Notwithstanding any other law and for purposes of this section, the governing body of the hospital whose patients are receiving the telehealth services may grant privileges to, and verify and approve credentials for, providers of telehealth services based on its medical staff recommendations that rely on information provided by the distant-site hospital or telehealth entity, as described in Sections 482.12, 482.22, and 485.616 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(2) By enacting this subdivision, it is the intent of the Legislature to authorize a hospital to grant privileges to, and verify and approve credentials for, providers of telehealth services as described in paragraph (1).

(3) For the purposes of this subdivision, “telehealth” shall include “telemedicine” as the term is referenced in Sections 482.12, 482.22, and 485.616 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations."

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 867, Sec. 1.5. (AB 744) Effective January 1, 2020.)

Refer to the source provided for all requirements and limitations. 

California Professional Regulation/Health & Safety Online Prescribing

Source

2242.   (a)

“Prescribing, dispensing, or furnishing dangerous drugs as defined in Section 4022 without an appropriate prior examination and a medical indication, constitutes unprofessional conduct. An appropriate prior examination does not require a synchronous interaction between the patient and the licensee and can be achieved through the use of telehealth, including, but not limited to, a self-screening tool or a questionnaire, provided that the licensee complies with the appropriate standard of care.”

Refer to the source provided for all requirements and limitations.

Nurses

We are not aware of any specific rules and regulations of the practice of telemental health services for Nurses

California Professional Regulation/Health & Safety Online Prescribing

Source

2242.   (a)

“Prescribing, dispensing, or furnishing dangerous drugs as defined in Section 4022 without an appropriate prior examination and a medical indication, constitutes unprofessional conduct. An appropriate prior examination does not require a synchronous interaction between the patient and the licensee and can be achieved through the use of telehealth, including, but not limited to, a self-screening tool or a questionnaire, provided that the licensee complies with the appropriate standard of care.”

Refer to the source provided for all requirements and limitations.

Medicaid Telehealth Parity Law

Medi-Cal (Medicaid)

“The health care provider rendering Medi-Cal covered benefits or services via a telehealth modality must be licensed in California, enrolled as a Medi-Cal rendering provider or non-physician medical practitioner (NMP) and affiliated with an enrolled Medi-Cal provider group.  The enrolled Medi-Cal provider group for which the health care provider renders services via telehealth must meet all Medi-Cal program enrollment requirements and must be located in California or a border community.”

Source: CA Department of Health Care Services. Medi-Cal Part 2 General Medicine Manual. Telehealth.

Originating Site Reimbursement:

“For purposes of reimbursement for covered treatment or services provided through telehealth, the type of setting where services are provided for the patient or by the health care provider is not limited (Welfare and Institutions Code [W&I Code], Section 14132.72[e]).  The type of setting may include, but is not limited to, a hospital, medical office, community clinic or the patient’s home.”

Source:  CA Department of Health Care Services. Medi-Cal Part 2 General Medicine Manual. Telehealth (Aug. 2019)

Private Pay Telehealth Parity Law

New Telehealth Bill (AB 744 - 2019 Legislative Session) Effective Jan. 1, 2021

“This bill would require a contract issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, between a health care service plan and a health care provider for the provision of health care services to an enrollee or subscriber, or a contract issued, amended or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, between a health insurer and a health care provider for an alternative rate of payment to specify that the health care service plan or health insurer reimburse a health care provider for the diagnosis, consultation, or treatment of an enrollee, subscriber, insured, or policyholder appropriately delivered through telehealth services on the same basis and to the same extent that the health care service plan or health insurer is responsible for reimbursement for the same service through in-person diagnosis, consultation, or treatment. 

The bill would authorize a health care service plan or health insurer to offer a contract or policy containing a copayment or coinsurance requirement for a health care service delivered through telehealth services, subject to specified limitations. The bill would require telehealth services covered under a health care service plan contract or policy or health insurance issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, to be subject to the same deductible and annual or lifetime dollar maximum as for equivalent services that are not provided through telehealth. Because a willful violation of the bill’s requirements relative to health care service plans would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Source: CA Health & Safety Code Sec. 1374.14 & Insurance Code 10123.855 (AB 744 - 2019 Legislative Session)

Refer to the source provided for all requirements and limitations. 

Payment Parity

New Telehealth Bill (AB 744 - 2019 Legislative Session) Effective Jan. 1, 2021

“This bill would require a contract issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, between a health care service plan and a health care provider for the provision of health care services to an enrollee or subscriber, or a contract issued, amended or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, between a health insurer and a health care provider for an alternative rate of payment to specify that the health care service plan or health insurer reimburse a health care provider for the diagnosis, consultation, or treatment of an enrollee, subscriber, insured, or policyholder appropriately delivered through telehealth services on the same basis and to the same extent that the health care service plan or health insurer is responsible for reimbursement for the same service through in-person diagnosis, consultation, or treatment. 

The bill would authorize a health care service plan or health insurer to offer a contract or policy containing a copayment or coinsurance requirement for a health care service delivered through telehealth services, subject to specified limitations. The bill would require telehealth services covered under a health care service plan contract or policy or health insurance issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, to be subject to the same deductible and annual or lifetime dollar maximum as for equivalent services that are not provided through telehealth. Because a willful violation of the bill’s requirements relative to health care service plans would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Source: CA Health & Safety Code Sec. 1374.14 & Insurance Code 10123.855 (AB 744 - 2019 Legislative Session)

Refer to the source provided for all requirements and limitations. 

Permission for the Temporary Practice of Clinicians Licensed Outside the State

We are not aware of any permission that allows for services delivered by out-of-state providers.

Note: As this is a free resource and Rules and Regulations regarding Telehealth are always changing, we appreciate any updates or corrections. They can be emailed to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a link to the source or a citation of the rule or regulation.

THTC Program Button

Telemental health is not a separate service from mental health services. All state licensing boards require that licensed clinicians follow all the regulations for practicing under their license no matter what medium of communication is used. All licensing boards also require that clinicians only practice within the boundaries of their competence. This usually requires education, continuing education, and/or supervision in telemental health. Complete our telehealth training program to cover all the essential competencies of providing telemental health services and earn the THTC (Telemental Health Training Certificate).

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