Telehealth and Counseling
Where is the counseling field headed and is it right for you?
What is Telehealth or Telemental health as it is Sometimes Called?
This is a service in the health field that has been around for years, but according to the American Psychological Association, has a new emphasis in the psychology field. Telehealth is receiving counseling services through an online platform. It is similar to what Skype or FaceTime would be, but should be HIPPA compliant.
Telehealth is changing the way we can give and receive services. It drastically increases access to mental health services for individuals that might live in remote places or suffer from illness or mobility problems that limit their ability to leave their home. Telehealth can be a good option for someone who might not be able take off work for an appointment, but instead can see their therapist over their lunch hour. Telehealth cuts down on time sitting in a waiting room as well as travel time. It also saves client's money by not missing work and no travel expenses.
Therapists are able to see client's within the state they are licensed. This means a therapist could be giving services to a client who is hundreds of miles away that otherwise would not have had access to mental health care. This is a great service to highlight that doesn't seem to get enough attention.
Things to Check Before Scheduling a Telehealth Visit
1. Check with your insurance company to see if this is a covered service. Many states have laws that require private payers to reimburse providers for telehealth, these are often referred to as Parity Laws (this does not mean that all healthcare providers are eligible for reimbursement).
2. If the telehealth services are not covered by your insurance company make sure you check the rate for this service and that it is something you can afford.
3. Make sure the platform being used is HIPPA complaint. The HIPPA Privacy Rule is a set of national standards that help protect certain health information. Not all forms of electronic communication are considered HIPPA compliant. For example, you should probably not be using Skype or FaceTime for your telehealth visits because these can be more easily accessed by others.
4. Telehealth is not appropriate for all types of mental health concerns. Check with the provider you are wishing to see to make sure your needs can be meet through telehealth.