Politico: New York expands telemedicine regulations

July 8, 2019


Earlier this year the NYS Council submitted comments to the state regarding the (then) proposed telemedicine changes (some of which are discussed below). The changes made by the state do not include all of our recommendations however we do appreciate the effort to update the reg and we will keep working to ensure regulatory barriers do not stand in the way of good practice or access to care for all who request it.

New regs are linked in the text (below).




New York expands telemedicine regulations

By Amanda Eisenberg

07/08/2019 05:02 AM EDT

More New Yorkers will have access to virtual mental health services under newly expanded telemedicine regulations, the state Office of Mental Health announced Monday.

Psychologists, licensed social workers, counselors and other mental health professionals will be able to provide virtual care to New Yorkers under the new regulations, according to state officials. Previously, only psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners were able to treat patients through virtual modules.

The new regulations also allow clinicians and other mental health professionals to broaden the definition of a “hub location” where they see patients.

Now, practitioners can hold virtual mental health appointments in places like their home office or in a private practice, as long as it’s in New York, according to the state. Prescribers, however, can be located anywhere in the United States, according to the Office of Mental Health.

The expansion also applies to Assertive Community Treatment and Personalized Recovery-Oriented Service sites — two evidence-based treatment models for people with serious mental illnesses.

Temporary locations will be permitted under the new regulations within and outside the state. However, the state did not provide additional clarification for sites receiving a “temporary” status and that will be defined in an upcoming multi-agency guidance document to be released later this year, according to the regulations.

“As we adopt and use telepsychiatry and telemental health, it’s important to remember that this technology is to be used in combination with, but not as a replacement, for a broader treatment plan and support services,” Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Marie Sullivan said in a prepared statement. “With that in mind, the possibilities these expanded regulations provide are very promising.”

Although 65 percent of New York’s 62 counties were designated as “mental health shortage areas” in 2014, virtual health care has not always been available to individuals living in rural areas or near facilities that lacked appropriate services.