8 Things to Do Before Practicing Telehealth

By Riley Draper

1. Contact your state licensing board

Understanding the laws and regulations for telehealth can be difficult. Because laws and regulations for behavioral health services are different in every state you will want to be sure and call your state licensing board to learn about the specific rules and regulations in your state.

2. Contact your nearest telehealth resource center

Nationally, there are a total of 14 TRCs which include 12 Regional Centers, all with different strengths and regional expertise, and 2 National Centers which focus on areas of technology assessment and telehealth policy. They are funded by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through their Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. If you want in depth information on setting up your telehealth practice these are your guys.

3. Look into reimbursement options

From Medicare and Medicaid to private insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield there are dozens of different circumstances and case types that are reimbursable for telehealth. Currently, there are 48 states that mandate Medicare reimbursement for telehealth, along with over 20 states that mandate private reimbursement. Provider shortage areas and gaining access to a specialist are just a few examples for telehealth cases that may be reimbursable.

4. Review the ATA’s best practices:

The American Telemedicine Association is a nonprofit telemedicine advocate that’s been around since 1993. They publish an annual report of the rules and regulations surrounding telehealth as well as the standards for best practices. Some examples of best practices are always do a formal, documented intake and make sure you and your client are both in private, well lit rooms.

5. Consider telehealth training

If one of your concerns is learning how to use telehealth software, you can always consider training as an option to get you up to par with the new technologies that power telehealth like videoconferencing. Fortunately their are already a number of telehealth training platforms which provide CE credit, including the TeleMental Health Institute which is considered an industry leader.

6. Consider multi-state licensure

Multi-state licensure can be both stressful and rewarding if you want to expand your telehealth practice to treat clients in multiple states by retaining multiple licenses. While they may be expensive and irksome at first thought, it’s possible that your return on investment could be far greater, not to mention you could service more individuals in provider shortage areas. Access is the key and the more licenses you have the bigger the entryway for servicing a potential clients that need your services.

7. Talk to your clients

It’s important to talk to your clients and gauge their interest in telehealth. You may find that some of your clients may even prefer meeting with their provider from the comfort of their own home. Especially stay-at-home moms, senior citizens, and busy business people that have trouble keeping their appointments.

8. Check the status of your license

Last but certainly not least, it’s amazing how easy it can be to forget to renew your license. So be sure to double check and verify that your license is still active before bringing your telehealth practice online.