Digital delivery of mental health care has become the new normal. Even if temporary during COVID-19, clinicians have had to quickly get comfortable with delivering care using telemedicine, often from their own homes. A recent American Psychological Association (APA) poll of 2,000 APA member clinicians showed that 75% were SOLELY providing remote services.
Most clinicians were using a combination of phone (no video) and a specifically designated audio-video platform to see patients. Although challenging, the vast majority of the APA respondents reported feeling knowledgeable (75%) and confident (78%) in their ability to offer telehealth services.
As clinics begin to reopen their doors, the APA recommends a few steps to prepare for changing rules and regulations in regards to ongoing telehealth delivery.
First and foremost, make sure you are using a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform. The temporary relaxation of HIPAA during COVID-19 will almost certainly be reversed.
Additionally, be clear on the changing regulations for seeing patients across state lines. Although many state licensure waivers were issued, many of them are set to expire.
Lastly, continue to move visits from audio only to audio-video. Although some audio only visits are currently being reimbursed, given the presumed superiority of audio-video sessions, the temporary audio only visit reimbursement may go away first.