Counselor Holding Tissues for Client

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.

security camera on exterior wall of building

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.

man standing uder umbrella

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.

 person writing with pen on paper

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. 

life buoy near marina

 

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.

personal writing with pen on paper

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.

man on a park bench reading a tablet

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:

wooden work desk with pen, paper, laptop and coffee mug

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”.

Therapists occasionally receive requests from prospective clients looking for faith-based or spiritually integrated counseling. Good therapists might know that they are sensitive to a client’s faith and that they can help them, yet they will often refer the client to a therapist who provides a specific faith-informed therapy. There are two good reasons to do this. First, it is important to provide the client with the best fit for what they are seeking. Second, spiritually integrated therapy truly is a specialization requiring a particular set of competencies and supervised experience.  

However, finding a fitting therapist for the client can often be a significant challenge. Conducting a search for a local one, whom the referring therapist has vetted, may yield little to no results. When well-trained spiritually integrated providers offer teletherapy, this can overcome the search obstacle. Many faith-informed therapists have not begun to provide teletherapy; the thought of launching a telehealth program can feel overwhelming for any provider. Some faith-informed therapists and organizations have successfully faced this task by partnering with people who provide the proper training and support.

Some phone systems market themselves especially for healthcare organizations, and for good reason. Not all phone systems are the same. One error that clinicians (and therefore clinical practices) often commit is to take the technology they use in their personal lives and bring it into their healthcare practice,  assuming that it is adequate. Traditional phone lines and cellular service is quite secure. However, additional features such as voicemail, faxing, and texting bring added risks to healthcare information. Group practices and larger larger organizations utilize features such as setting on-call procedures, ring groups, automated attendants, and administrator control over all phone accounts. Clients put their trust in their healthcare providers to protect their private information. Using ordinary or traditional phone lines, voicemail, faxing, and texting can jeopardize patients’ sensitive information.

The training was very informative, there was more in-depth information to the details of privacy and HIPAA on an electronic level that I was not aware of. The more technological part of it was new information to me.
Nellie Decker
Therapist II / Yakama Nation Behavioral Health
Amazing and relevant information conveyed over excellent format. This is a professional organization worth joining.
Summer Allan Wilson LCSW-S; Nationally Certified TFCBT
Pediatric Psychotherapist / East Texas Family Guidance Center
The training was well structured and presented by a knowledge individual. Information shared in the training was useful, clear, and concise and can easily be incorporated into future practice techniques.
Dora Falls
LPC, MAC Private Practice - / Private Practice
Great, course. Really helped me during this challenging time to connect with students.
Priscilla Robinson
School Counselor / Baltimore County Public Schools
Educational and informative content that was easy to follow and comprehend.
Scott Lipp, Ph.D., LMHC, LAC, NCC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor; Adjunct Professor / Greater Things, LLC; Florida Atlantic University
The course was so informative and I was glued to my screen for the entire duration. I received so much knowledge concerning ethics in telehealth and I am greatly encouraged to read about all the standards and policies that pertain to my practice. Thank you!
Bridgette Nalumu
Public health consultant / Green and Purple Consultancy Network
This course was extremely helpful understanding the legal requirements for interstate telehealth counseling.
Donald Kirk Henderson
Licensed Professional Counselor / Milestone Family Resources
This course was eye opening and highlighted some definite areas for improvement to better address emergency management planning.
Nikkita Scott
Director of Counselling & Student Activities / Bbermuda College
Very informative training, instruction was clear and easy to follow
Jill Bogan-El
Therapist
Easily one of the best online or in-person workshops I have ever attended. The information was unbelievably relevant to current practice with our students doing e-learning and having to provide online therapy and support. Thank you so much for this workshop and the information.
Vincent Amador
School Psychologist / Thornridge High School
This course is providing me with valuable information that will be helpful in providing competent and effective services for clients.
Nancy Sweet-Holp, LMSW
Therapist / Liberty House of Albany
Very informative. I learned things that I wasn't aware of about state laws!
Tamara Coleman
Counselor / Tamara Coleman Counseling LLC
Courses were very informative! Extremely helpful!
Carron D. Alexander
LPC / Premier Counseling Services
I really gained a deeper understanding of Telehealth. I think this course helps pave the way for success in our field. This was very convenient. I am so blessed to take a course like this during the crisis we are facing as a nation. This course really helps me perform at a high level for my job. THANKS!!!!!!!
Jackie Tanna
Therapist / Region One Mental Health
I took the Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider Training Certification Course in 2018, I feel so lucky to have found the TeleHealth Certification Institute. It's a top notch training center which has continued to provide me with tools and the knowledge to grow my private teletherapy practice. I recently participated in the TeleMental Health Preparedness Summit 2020 and was definitely not disappointed. The excitement and enthusiasm from the participants and TeleHealth Certification Institute staff is contagious. I've been inspired, since, to look into taking more courses, and joined their FaceBook group. I will likely join their consultation group in the near future. I don't believe there is another training institute out there that is as good as this one for everything telebehavioral health. Thank you Ray! You are a visionary!
Larissa Golloub, LCSW-R
Psychotherapist, solo practitioner / Larissa Golloub, LCSW
Very well done. Encourages active engagement in telemental health process while guiding effectively.
Chris Brotherton
Marriage and Family Therapist / Addiction Counselor / Brotherton Counseling LLC
Vey helpful and user friendly. Most importantly informative. Very good information to enhance an individual's practice.
La Keicia Boyd
Licensed Professional Counselor / Private Practice
Necessary technological guidance!
Frances D Murdock
This course was very informative and very relevant to today's telehealth practices!
Keith Ayson
Housing Case Manager / Bridgeways
This course was very interesting and allowing me to understand the way telementalhealth services need to work correctly.
Patricia A Hill
Mental Health Counselor II and LCDC, MAC / Central County Services
It was one of the best courses I’ve attended; clear, well-structured, creative, transparent and professional! Bravo.
Elizabeth Tramonte, PsyD
Private Practitioner / Elizabeth Tramonte PC
Thank you for an informational, relevant course to help me obtain my TMH certificate. Excellent presentation.
Tomica Horton
counselor/therapist / Jodi Province Counseling Services
Wonderful free training. Helpful discussion on how to aid clients in breaking out of the negative thought trap.
Jaime Wright
This was quite beneficial. You explained well at a comfortable pace and you provided sufficient details for me to develop an Emergency Management Plan. Thank you!
Dr. STEPHEN KIURI GITONGA
This course is more comprehensive than all the other HIPAA courses I've taken combined.
Michelle R. Gould, LMHC
Mental Health Counselor
Brillant concept and a great way to support counselors as they transition into on-line therapy/services.
Bianca Abrams
License Professional Counselor / The Wellness Institute of Atlanta

The course was very detailed and informative. It covered everything that is necessary to work with Tele mental health.

Cynthia Allison
Mental health Counselor / Friendly Therapy LLC
Very informative! Well organized! Takeaway- protect yourself- know your ethical code and standards/ be insured.
Brenda Staerker
Private practice / Thaxton Holistic Wellness
I learned a lot in this course and will put what I learned into practice when I move my home office space.
Raymond Corbo
Clinical Supervisor and Counselor / Redeemer Counseling Services