Telepsychiatry: NY’s New Regulations

According to the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) www.omh.ny.gov December newsletter, the OMH announced the adoption of new regulations to accommodate the expansion of telepsychiatry services in New York State.

The new regulations expand the type of providers that can use telepsychiatry services. Previous regulations enacted in February 2015, had limited the use of telepsychiatry between Mental Hygiene licensed clinics.

The new regulations now allow telepsychiatry appointments between any providers licensed under Article 31. This adds an estimated 250 mental health providers that now includes mental health workers from Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Programs, Inpatient Programs, and Partial Hospitalization Programs.

To ensure that clients can make informed decisions, participating providers are required to give clients information on the use of telepsychiatry. Consent is required specific to telepsychiatry to protect the person’s right to choose whether or not they want to receive services face-to-face or through telepsychiatry.

Assertive Community Treatment and Personalized Recovery Oriented Services programs are excluded because these programs are based on face-to-face interactions between providers and individuals in care.

However, the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMC Health) is now using telepsychiatry for inpatients because of the stress that the national shortage of psychiatrists and mental health nurse practitioners has put on the network’s staff. This makes WMC Health the first institution in the state to use telepsychiatry for inpatient care.

Dr, Stephen Ferrando, Director of Psychiatry at WMC Health said, “In general patients are receiving telepsychiatry well. I think this may be in part, because people have become so familiar with social media and communicating through video chat applications.

Go to www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/resources/newsltr/2016/december-2016.pdf to view the December newsletter.

 

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