Recent amendments by New York’s Office of Mental Health (OMH) to its telemedicine regulations have expanded both the types of professionals who may remotely deliver mental health services, as well as the locations from which such professionals may provide such services and recipients receive them.
Formerly, virtual mental health services were designated as “telepsychiatry” and only duly licensed and qualified physicians and nurse practitioners could provide such services. Under the amended regulations, such services are now referred to as “telemental health” services, which may, in addition to physicians and nurse practitioners, be provided by duly licensed and qualified psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, creative arts therapists and psychoanalysts.
In addition, recipients of telemental health services can now receive such services not only at a site licensed by OMH, but also in their place of residence or a temporary location within or outside the State of New York. Providers must obtain prior written approval from OMH before utilizing telemental health services. Once approved, psychiatrists and nurse practitioners in psychiatry may deliver such services from any site located within the United States, including from a space in a place of residence approved by OMH, and other approved practices may do so from a site located within the State of New York, including from a space in a place of residence approved by the OMH.
These amendments are expected to provide increased access to mental health services by recipients who might otherwise not have such services available to them because of distance, location, time of day or lack of resources.
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