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TeleMental Health Issues During COVID-19 Emergency Response

Online Course Materials:    ArticlesArticles    AudiosVideos   ArticlesArticles    VideosVideos   

All materials are available as audios with transcripts.

Developed by Roy Huggins, LPC NCC

Course is geared to orient therapists to the recently rapidly changing landscape of telemental health practice during the COVID-19 emergency response.

General Course Description

This course orients psychotherapists, counselors, and other mental health providers to the changing landscape of telemental health practice during the COVID-19 emergency response.

This is a beginning-level course that explores in either a two-part audio OR video (available in both formats, transcripts included), as well as two short articles, what emergency rule changes have been made to HIPAA’s Security Rule and to Medicare, as well as legal and regulatory changes made at various state levels to licensure requirements and insurance coverage requirements. The instructors also discuss how clinicians who are trying to adjust quickly to telehealth practice can make decisions around maintaining client privacy, as well as some of the risks associated with performing mental health work with people stuck in their homes, finishing with a discussion about how the rule changes and evolving professional landscape will and won’t impact our practice after the emergency ends. Articles include a brief summary of rule changes, as well as an article about HIPAA Business Associates. Understanding the HIPAA Business Associate Rule is important for understanding the temporary changes which have been made to HIPAA’s Security Rule in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES:

  • Identify telehealth technology and practice contexts that maintain regulatory compliance and client privacy while meeting client needs while under shelter-in-place orders.
  • Assess if the clinician will be legally permitted to practice with a given client and get reimbursement for that practice.
  • Describe how the COVID-19 emergency rule changes, and social changes, may change the conditions of the learner’s practice after the emergency ends.

COURSE SYLLABUS:

  • Fundamental Differences During the Emergency
    • The state of telemental health practice adoption during the COVID-19 emergency.
    • Sudden, fast adoption of telehealth vs. slow, measured adoption.
    • Telehealth as an absolute necessity rather than a useful adjunct to other care delivery methods.
  • Technology and Logistics Issues
    • The temporary changes to HIPAA’s Security Rule
    • The impact of HIPAA’s changes on videoconferencing software choices, as well as on email, texting, and electronic record storage.
    • Health and Human Services’ statements on continued requirements to maintain client privacy.
    • Issues and techniques for maintaining client privacy when performing telehealth with people who are staying in their homes.
  • Reimbursement
    • Temporary rule changes to Medicare.
    • How Medicare’s rule changes do and don’t affect clinicians’ legal ability to practice in other states.
    • Trends in private insurance coverage and legal rulemaking which mandates coverage of telemental health services.
    • How coding works with telehealth.
  • Interjurisdictional Practice
    • A summary of the typical issues which arise in cross-state and international practice.
    • Trends in emergency rulemaking allowing interjurisdictional practice.
    • Risk management issues in performing interjurisdictional practice in order to maintain continuity of care.
  • Discussion of What Will Happen After the Emergency
    • Practice Trends
      • How will telehealth come to dominate, or not dominate, mental health practice in the future?
    • Insurance, HIPAA, and Licensure Laws
      • Will HIPAA’s temporary rule changes lead to permanent changes?
      • Will insurers provide more extensive coverage for telehealth after the emergency ends?
      • Will states be more open to interstate practice after the emergency ends?
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Cost: $19.00

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