Technological improvements nationwide have meant an increase in telehealth services since patients and providers can communicate in a variety of two-way, real-time methods that provide remote consultation, home monitoring, and counseling, to name just a few.
However, specialized treatment is often elusive in rural areas. In order for states to adequately handle the rapid expansion of telehealth services, significant development of remote connections is necessary when providing access to a variety of specialists in both telemedicine and telemental health.
Telehealth services and their availability are expanding rapidly and the state of New York is prepared. Numerous avenues exist for those seeking services and providers are in place as well.
Telehealth is a constantly evolving mode of healthcare and there are numerous aspects of the field in need of clarification so that statutes, policies and practices follow the same guidelines. Telehealth is not a type of health care, rather it is the manner in which care is given. And as the standards for that care become more defined and the use of this mode more prevalent, so will the need for caregivers who are adequately trained and licensed to deliver telehealth.
In 2016, the State of Florida created the Telehealth Advisory Council in order to survey, research and recommend changes to telehealth in order to better serve those living in the state. The increase in both access and use of telehealth will also require an increase in health care practitioners offering telehealth services.
Georgia is using telemental health for assessments, treatment, supervision, coordination of care, school-based services, and in many other facilities. The Partnership Georgia Partnership for Telehealth has had 240,000 telehealth patient visits in 2014, and it currently includes over 600 locations with over 200 specialists and healthcare partners. Georgia has had a telehealth parity law since 2006. Georgia has been requiring counselors, social workers, and MFTs to receive 6 hours of CE training in telemental health. Georgia’s Office of Telehealth & Telemedicine is establishing a new sophisticated telemedicine network.
If you are wanting to begin offering telebehavioral health services in Georgia, I highly recommend earning a certification. A certification in telebehavioral health will not only teach you important best practices but will inform referral sources of your credibility.
North Carolina is greatly utilizing telemental health. The Statewide Telepsychiatry Program (NC-STeP) in NC anticipates connecting eighty or more hospital emergency departments with psychiatric assessments and consultations. Most major insurance companies in NC are reimbursing for telebehavioral health services. The Center for Rural Health Innovation’s Health-e-Schools program provides school-based telehealth services to thirty-three schools in four counties. North Carolina has a proposed telehealth parity law, HB 283. Both Licensed Professional Counselors and Social Workers in North Carolina can now receive supervision hours through the use of technology.
The expansion of telemental health in North Carolina is helping overcome the barriers to access to treatment. If you are a behavioral health clinician in North Carolina, I encourage you to seek training in telemental health.
You can earn you Telemental Health Training Certificate (THTC) by taking one of our upcoming courses. Click here to find a training closest to you.
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.