Rural Mental Health Clinics Use Secure Telehealth to Improve Access
Community-based mental health organizations and rural hospitals use Secure Telehealth to connect their clients to physicians who may be hundreds of miles away.
With Secure Telehealth, clinics can share their meeting rooms with multiple part-time physicians. Telehealth, in general, has numerous advantages such as:
- Improving outcomes for rural populations who might not be able to receive treatment.
- Reducing no-show rates by allowing remote patients to see the doctor sooner, regardless of where the doctor is.
- Improving the prospects of CBMHOs successfully recruiting physicians to work in rural areas.
Factors Affecting Quality
The quality of Secure Telehealth is top notch. You can email us at email@example.com for a 30-minute live demo. If you experience low quality, this could be due to the following:
- Internet bandwidth (750kbits/second is required for uploads and downloads)
- Computer speed (a dual-processor computer or a 2.8 GHz processor is needed)
- The hardware used such as webcams and microphones; see our hardware recommendations here.
Insurance Reimbursement for Telepsychiatry
The location of the beneficiary is a factor in knowing your insurance reimbursement eligibility for Medicare. It is known that Medicare will only pay for telepsychiatry if the beneficiary presents from an approved facility type in a nonmetro county light green or white on the map. You can also check your state on the Census website.
Some of the exceptions of Medicare are the following:
- Medicare will pay if the beneficiary presents from a Health Professional Shortage Area in a metro county.
- Medicare will pay if the beneficiary presents from a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)
Feel free to check out the Health Resources and Services Administration site for more information about the exempted areas for Medicare.
Insurance reimbursement depends on the state and on the private insurance company.
You must be licensed to practice in the state from which the consumer presents.
You must notify your carrier that you are practicing through telemedicine to be eligible for insurance reimbursement.
Live video conferencing sessions are considered Protected Health Information (PHI). They fall under the scope of HIPAA. At Secure Telehealth, we take pride in being able to meet all of the HIPAA standards for technical safeguards. This is why we require users or the covered entities to sign a HIPAA business associate agreement.
In addition, the signee must safeguard the physical surroundings of the workstation providing access to protected health information.
Hospital Emergency Departments
To connect to on-call staff psychiatrists in their homes or professional offices, hospital emergency departments use Secure Telehealth's online video conferencing service. We offer the software through cloud computing.
Secure Telehealth provides training and 24/7 technical support to all endpoints, whether inside or outside the hospital. These are all included in the monthly fee. Interviews are also encrypted at the highest level by our software. Aside from that, confidentiality is assured even if the physician is presenting from a home network.
The specialist conducts assessments or evaluations by interviewing the patient remotely. They can determine whether to admit or discharge the patient based on medical factors as well as the interview or assessment results. Patients can benefit from telehealth by being able to skip the line in the ER waiting room.
Article: "Telepsychiatry in the Emergency Department" from the California Health Care Foundation
Abstract: Patients who present in the Emergency Department (ED) with mental health issues often encounter long delays before being evaluated, admitted, transferred, or discharged. Arranging appropriate evaluation for these patients often disproportionately affects the operation of the ED, particularly in terms of space and staffing.
Some hospitals are using telemedicine to help evaluate ED patients. This report examines seven ED telepsychiatry programs in terms of their operational structure, financial support, and challenges they have encountered. It also looks at the potential value telepsychiatry could bring to the efficient operation of the ED as well as improved patient care.
The issues discussed in the report include:
Technology and Infrastructure
Federal and California Regulatory Issues
Reimbursement Related to Medicare, Medicaid, and Private Payers
Patient-Centered Medical Home Telehealth
Secure Telehealth face-to-face video conferencing can be used to build a functional medical neighborhood for a Patient-Centered Medical Home.
Specialists can meet with primary care clinicians to coach them on handling particular diagnoses or conditions that frequently occur among the practice’s patients. This reserves consultations and referrals for the cases that require direct specialist involvement.
Aside from being tangible manifestations of greater coordination, these approaches—because they involve PCC and specialist interaction over time—can help strengthen relationships that facilitate further coordination efforts.
This reprint from the Coordinating Care in the Medical Neighborhood published by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality shows how telehealth can improve collaboration within a medical neighborhood.
“Several approaches may be useful in increasing collaboration between specialists and PCCs. These include telemedicine and virtual consultation or case meetings on a panel of patients” (Yee 2011; Forrest 2009).
A high-functioning medical neighborhood can serve as a learning community that leads to relationships where PCCs and specialists effectively co-manage care. An example is Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes), a health-care program targeted to rural and underserved populations in New Mexico, which uses specialists to train rural providers.
Project ECHO gives specialists technical competencies to serve vulnerable patients with chronic and complex diseases. This type of collaborative, learning community can help move the medical neighborhood from a focus on providing individual care to an emphasis on mutual responsibility for population health.
Telehealth Integrates Behavioral Health Into Primary Care
Secure Telehealth’s software helps behavioral health organizations integrate mental health services into a primary care setting. Our app is particularly well suited for this particular task because it uses everyday devices. Instead of hiring a full-time BH specialist, PCP contracts with behavioral health agencies can provide on-demand assessments through telehealth.