Because of ongoing public health concerns related to COVID-19, we are currently providing services via telehealth. We will be continuing with telehealth for the foreseeable future and will revisit our plans every few weeks. Below are answers to questions you might have about telehealth and information about how our telehealth platform works.
What exactly is telehealth?
Telehealth is simply a way of providing health care services, including psychotherapy. Instead of meeting face-to-face in the office, we meet by video or by phone.
Is telehealth private?
Yes. We use a secure, HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform that is integrated into our office’s record-keeping system. Your therapist will be in a private location when you meet.
However, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure things are private on your end. If the client is a child, a caregiver will need to make sure the child has privacy. Ways to enhance privacy include:
- meeting in a room with a closed door, without other family members nearby
- using headphones/earbuds or placing a radio outside the door so others cannot overhear the session.
- using a secure, password protected internet connection (do not to use public or unsecured wi-fi for your appointment)
Can therapy for kids be done over telehealth?
Absolutely! Therapists have found many creative ways to engage even very young clients over video. This often includes increasing parent involvement in therapy appointments, reading books or playing games over video, using an interactive whiteboard on-line, and other activities to help children work toward their therapy goals.
Quick tip for making the most of telehealth: Try not to schedule your child’s session in the middle of a fun activity or playdate. Children (including teens) are less likely to focus on a therapy session when a friend is in the other room.
I’m just not sure about this. (Or, I don’t think my child will participate.)
We understand. This is very different from how most of us think about therapy. We encourage you to give it a try and see how the first few appointments go. Most families are pleasantly surprised once they give telehealth a try. We have found some clients even prefer telehealth to office-based therapy. If you feel strongly about meeting in-person, there are a small number of therapists at other agencies/practices doing office-based appointments.
What do I need for a video session?
In order to utilize video sessions, you will need:
- High-speed internet (at least 10 Mbps)
- A device with both camera and microphone
- If you are using a mobile device, download the Telehealth for Simple Practice app for iOS or Android prior to the appointment.
- If you are on a laptop or PC, the session will open in your internet browser. You will need to use Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
What if I don’t have good internet/video?
If you do not have access to strong internet or a device with video capabilities, your appointment can be done by phone.
How does this work, exactly?
Great question! Our system is very user-friendly. We will need permission to communicate with you electronically, either by email or using secure messaging in our Client Portal, so that we can send you the link for your video session. This is a unique link and will be different for every appointment. Make sure you have downloaded the Telehealth for Simple Practice app, if you are using a mobile device. We also encourage you to do the Internet Connection test before your appointment.
When it is time for your appointment:
- close out any other programs that are open on your mobile device or computer
- turn off alerts from other programs, to reduce disruptions
- open the link you have been provided and follow the steps
You might also want to watch this 1-minute YouTube video demonstration.
If your session is by phone, your therapist will call the number you have provided at your appointment time.
What if I have technical issues?
This Telehealth FAQ from Simple Practice is a great resource for trouble-shooting problems. And of course your therapist will be happy to help as well!
Will insurance pay for therapy delivered via telehealth?
At this time, most insurers are covering video appointments. Most are also covering phone sessions, if video is not possible. Some are even temporarily waiving copay and deductible costs for telehealth appointments.
You are responsible for checking with your insurance plan to confirm that telehealth is covered and we have put together a list of questions you can ask when you call them. If your plan does not cover telehealth, you will be billed the contracted rate for your insurance and your card-on-file will be charged.
Are there risks associated with telehealth?
Like any health service, there are of course risks and benefits. These are outlined in more detail on our Consent form. The biggest risk is around confidentiality. When you come to the office, you come to a private, confidential location for therapy. When receiving therapy remotely, you have greater responsibility for ensuring your privacy. There is also the chance that technology doesn’t cooperate and your appointment gets interrupted as a result. We encourage you to read the Consent for Tele-Mental Health carefully and ask any questions you might have.
What happens when the threat of coronavirus is over?
When that happens, we will go back to meeting in the office! Telehealth may remain available as a “once in a while” option, but the expectation will be that we continue to meet in person the majority of the time.