The coronavirus has changed ideas for how we provide and receive health and mental health services. Many industries have introduced working from home initiatives and amenities to cope with the current pandemic. Thankfully, Substance Use Disorder Treatment Centers are an essential part of healthcare and, thus, were allowed to remain open with increased safety measures to minimize risk. If you have not already, now is a good time to invest in technology in order to ensure continuity of care using telecommunication. Historically, SUD treatment and recovery communities have benefited from in person services and interaction such as individual and group therapy, case management, and support meetings such as NA and AA, but the “new normal” has reminded us that recovery is possible through the online communication.
Often times clients have to limit their SUD treatment stay due to personal obligations such as having children at home or other personal obligations. Telemental health makes it easier for a person to get the treatment they need, while also being present to fulfill their personal obligations. Telemental health is an excellent option for people to support their long-term recovery with limited change to their life circumstances. Substance Use Disorder Treatment Providers can continue to utilize this valuable service even after the pandemic ends perhaps removing potential barriers to treatment for some.
For the State of Florida, Legacy Consulting Agency recommends consulting with Chapter 65D-30 and 456.47 Florida Statues to determine how to structure your program and remain in compliance. For Providers in other states, LCA can also support you in staying compliant and continuing to provide quality treatment ethically and legally.
Questions to consider before getting started:
How many hours of services will be provided? Individual? Group? A combination?
What Medical Record System will you use that is HIPAA and Telehealth compliant per 42 CFR part 2?
How will you protect client information?
What interactive conferencing system suits your needs best?
What are you emergency response plans in case of technology breeches?
Most importantly, your organization will need an individualized policy and procedure manual that captures how your telehealth program will be organized. This Manual is subject to approval from the Department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Office before any telehealth services can be initiated.
Several states including Florida allow out of state Providers to provide telehealth services once they register with the applicable board or department. However, Licensed providers should confirm with their licensing board about what is allowed. If you are thinking about providing telehealth services, please research individual state requirements carefully before doing so. All Provider licensed under or certified under s. 393.17; part III of chapter 401; chapter 457; chapter 458; chapter 459; chapter 460; chapter 461; chapter 463; chapter 464; chapter 465; chapter 466; chapter 467; part I, part III, part IV, part V, part X, part XIII, or part XIV of chapter 468; chapter 478; chapter 480; part II or part III of chapter 483; chapter 484; chapter 486; chapter 490; or chapter 491 are approved to provide telehealth services in the state of Florida.