On April 6, 2020, the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board (“CSWMFT Board”) filed emergency rule 4757-5-13. The rule will remain in effect until August 4, 2020. In its announcement, the CSWMFT indicated that the emergency amendments to the rule expand access to teletherapy services for clients by:
- clarifying that no training is required prior to providing teletherapy, however, the rule requires that licensees provide services only if they can competently provide such services
- waives the requirement to hold a face to face meeting in-person or via video prior to rendering services;
- allows for verbal consent when written consent cannot be obtained; and
- follows federal guidance regarding HIPAA compliant technology.
In its announcement, the CSWMFT Board also indicated that licensees should consider the following questions if they are going to provide teletherapy:
- Do I have the skills and competencies necessary to provide teletherapy? If the answer is no, what do I need to do to develop those skills?
- Do I have the right recordkeeping practices in place?
- Does my liability insurance allow me to provide teletherapy?
- Is my employer supportive of my doing teletherapy?
- Are insurers whom I will be billing allowing for teletherapy?
- If you are planning to continue to provide services to existing clients, who among your clients might benefit from teletherapy? Who might face challenges?
- If you are working with new clients via teletherapy, are you prepared to assess the appropriateness of video or phone therapy with the clients?
- How do you ensure equitable opportunities for all clients? Are you prepared to refer out any clients whom you cannot serve because of insurance issues, the presenting problem, or client issues with being served via video or phone?
- Do the presenting problems you often treat translate well over teletherapy?
For the full CSWMFT Board Statement, go here.