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Ray Barrett interviewed Kelly Koch from Compliancy Group. In this informative conversation, Ray and Kelly delve into the steps required by healthcare providers to remain compliant with HIPAA law when working with third-party vendors. Kelly was able to help dispel much of the confusion surrounding this important topic and layout some clear “does and don’ts” when it comes to HIPAA and working with other organizations.

What do we call behavioral health sessions where the client and clinician are not in the same location but rely on technology to communicate?

There are so many terms and definitions for this that it often causes confusion.  Knowing which term or definition to use is often determined by context. Among other terms used, social workers have used the term technology-assisted social work, psychologists have used the term e-psychology, and counselors have used the term distance-counseling.  Clinicians who specialize in using texting for therapy have referred to it as text-therapy, providers marketing to tech-savvy clients have used the terms web-based or cyber-counseling.  

Telemental health is defined as the provision of behavioral or mental healthcare when the clinician and the client are in different locations at the time of services. Behavioral health services provided when the client and clinician are in the same location are often referred to as "face-to-face", "on-site", "in-person" or "in-office" sessions.

Telehealth is changing the way that patients can access health care, but when new technology meets decades-old federal regulation, tensions will necessarily arise.

When it comes to the intersection between telehealth and HIPAA regulation, there are many common misconceptions about how to run a telehealth practice while maintaining compliance with federal privacy and security standards.

Before we dive into some of the particularities of HIPAA as they apply to telehealth professionals, let's look at some of the basics of HIPAA regulation.

How necessary is professional liability insurance? What if I own my own business? If there is a breach of client data, am I covered? 

To answer these questions and more, we asked for help from CPH and Associates, a professional liability insurance agency specialized in the mental health field since 2001. Below, CPH shares some common questions they hear from their insureds in relation to malpractice insurance and telehealth specifically.

Anyone can experience stress or sadness due to a variety of factors such as major life changes, work challenges, health or family issues, and a host of other challenges that can be short-term or long-term, intense or mild, frequent or seldom. People who have experienced trauma, anxiety, or depression are often unaware of the effects on their life and on the lives of those around them; they can become accustomed to it. Some turn to alcohol or other substances in an attempt to  “remedy” the symptoms, causing dependency or substance abuse. Because of this, healthcare teams create tools to assess and screen for these behavioral health symptoms. 

We have compiled a list of Helplines according to various categories. We hope this can be useful to anyone looking for quick access to what could be life-saving information.

In early 2019, the Georgia Senate passed two bills addressing telehealth and telemedicine. Both bills address comprehensive healthcare reform in order to reduce costs, increase access, and enhance quality care for Georgia residents. Since 2006, the state of Georgia has addressed telehealth parity law, and continued to address the need and coordination of telehealth care. The most recent bills (Senate Bill 115 and Senate Bill 118) continue to demonstrate how Georgia legislature has updated and revised existing laws.

Online counseling (aka video counseling, virtual counseling, etc.) can be an excellent way to receive mental health care, and its use is growing for many reasons. If you choose to go this route, here are six steps to a quality video-session with your mental health provider:

With the exception of writing letters or sending information via “snail mail”, we all generally communicate over  long distances by means of technology.  When counseling services are provided this way, they can be called “distance counseling”.

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