How COVID-19 is Changing the World of Online Counseling

You may have been an early adopter of telehealth services; perhaps you thought that you would never provide care from a distance; or maybe you fall somewhere in the middle. The fact of the matter is that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic - we have all been forced into becoming distance providers.

Questions you may have asked yourself: Am I allowed to provide telehealth services? Can I deliver those services competently and ethically? Will I be able to follow the constantly changing regulations?

Ray Barrett met with Dee Wagner, LPC, BC-DMT, and expert on Stephen Porges' polyvagal theory to discuss the implications of the forced use of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the increased and continued use of technology will affect clinicians and clients.

Learn from an expert on how to market your teletherapy services and how to create an attention-grabbing provider profile that connects with those in need of your services.  Raymond Barrett, CEO of Telehealth Certification Institute, interviewed Clay Cockrell, a leading expert on these topics. 

What can you expect from a consultation session?


Private consultation with Ray Barrett is an opportunity for you -or your group- to seek specific guidance on the topics you want to discuss telehealth services. You may have just finished training and haven’t begun to provide distance services or perhaps you have the foundation for your telepractice but need help evaluating your current systems. Regardless of where you fit on the spectrum as a telemental health provider, consultation is a unique opportunity for you to set the agenda and clear goals for what you want to take away from your session with Ray.

March 27, 2020, is the date that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was passed. The CARES Act is a $2 trillion stimulus package and designates emergency funding for topics such as healthcare, state funding, and overall relief. 

What immediate impact does the CARES Act have on healthcare during the period of the COVID-19 emergency?

On March 20, 2020, Ray had an opportunity to catch up with Suzanne Gavin, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Nationally Certified Custody Evaluator, and a Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator.

What caught Ray’s attention, and the attention of other clinicians is her honest breakdown of her transition (and the related anxieties) to what she referred to as a mandated telemental health practice.

Ray Barrett recently met with Mei Kwong, the Executive Director at CCHP, Center for Connected Health Policy to discuss recent regulation changes pertaining to the COVID-19 epidemic.

March 2020 marked the release of the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program Final Rule by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This has been a five-year process and a promise for improvement and progress in the United States health care system.

In December 2016, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC’s) Cures Act was signed into law by Congress and has been under revision so that the newly issued Final Rule supports modern-day technology. The Cures Act is designed to accelerate medical product development, information innovation and advancements in access to patient information. A goal of the Cures Act is to establish the means by which the market takes the lead and drives development – to not wait on legislation and regulations in order to make improvements.

H.R. 6074 (“Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020”) is an $8.3 billion COVID-19 funding package that was signed into law on March 6, 2020, to address issues that arise during the coronavirus public health emergency. H.R.6074 includes a provision to temporarily lift restrictions and implement the wider use of telehealth services by Medicare beneficiaries.

HIPAA compliant video conferencing is when a HIPAA-covered entity meets all of the requirements of the HIPAA and HITECH laws when using video conferencing with clients.  The totality of HIPAA compliance is too large of a topic for this one article but we will cover specifically the HIPAA considerations of using video conferencing technology with clients.