TELEHEALTH CONSENT FORM
PLEASE SIGN AND RETURN
Because of the concerns around the community spread of COVID-19, I am offering telehealth sessions for current clients to maintain continuity of care while supporting health and well-being through social distancing. Telehealth standards require a separate consent form (it's the one at the top of the page with the big arrow). Please sign this and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org before your next session. Minor clients need a parent/guardian signature.
You may have questions... so here is more information to help:
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth (aka web therapy, video therapy, virtual therapy, telemental health) is like Skype or Facetime, with both audio and video, but it is on a HIPAA-compliant platform to maintain your privacy and the confidentiality of your information.
What if I do not want to participate in telehealth sessions?
I understand that many of you prefer to have in-person sessions (I do, too!). I also understand that when we meet, it is just the 2 of us (or 3-4 with couples and families), which is within the recommended group limitation of 10 people. However, we now know that individuals can carry the Coronavirus - and pass it on to others - without noticeable symptoms. That means if one of my clients unknowingly has the Coronavirus and has an in-person session with me, I could then unknowingly become a vector and pass the virus on to every other client I see for an in-person session after that. So, if you have the capability (see below for what equipment is needed), please try at least one session to see if it is something you are willing to continue during this time. As soon as we are able, we can go back to in-person sessions. You might even decide you like having sessions from the comfort of your own home, and may want to have this as an option in the future!
Will my insurance cover it?
Cigna, United Healthcare / Optum, and Medicare have all released statements that telehealth will be covered for their members.
BCBS; Telehealth is not a covered service on all plans. If it is a covered service, many plans are waiving the member cost share (co-payment, co-insurance, deductible) through April 30th. To find out what your plan covers, call the number on the back of your insurance card.
On 3/17/20, Governor Abbott issued Emergency Rules that support telehealth in Texas, ensuring that health plans covered by the state, Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and Employee Retirement System (ERS), and health plans regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), treat telehealth identically to in-person visits. The emergency rule applies to health plans regulated by the state, including plans purchased through Healthcare.gov. To know if your plan is regulated by the state, check your insurance card for "TDI" or "DOI" (See examples HERE).
What equipment will I need to participate in telehealth?
The good news is there is no confusing software to download and all you need is an internet connection, web camera, some headphones or speakers, and a microphone. Many mobile devices and laptops already have the necessary components built in. If you do not have the right equipment or do not have internet access, please call me as soon as possible so we can discuss alternate plans for your treatment.
How do I get started?
Online counseling sessions will be held on Google G Suite hangout meet, which is similar to Skype or FaceTime but is a secure HIPAA Compliant program. I will need to send you a link for the session. If you are connecting using a mobile device, it will prompt you to download the Google Hangout Meet app prior to connecting. You will need to enable the camera and microphone on your device.
If for any reason the G Suites platform is not working, I will use the C3Now telehealth platform as a backup. I will also need to send you a link for meetings on this platform.
Tips for a great Online Therapy appointment:
Make sure you are in a quiet environment and free of distractions
Download a white noise app and place it outside of the room for privacy and confidentiality if needed. A radio, television, so other "noise maker" outside the room could also work.
Use headphones for better call audio
Make sure you are using a fast internet speed or Ethernet cable
Close out of unused programs
Use the latest version of your web browser
Adjust the lighting so you can be seen clearly
Thank you all for your flexibility.
Please keep in mind that self-care is extra important during this time. Headspace is now offering free services to help with this. If you are interested, check it out here..