CHOICES IN COUNSELING INFORMED CONSENT ADDENDUM FOR TELEHEALTH THERAPY SERVICES - EFFECTIVE March 23, 2020

Telehealth Therapy Services (Telehealth) is the practice of providing therapy using technology-assisted means that allows interactive audio and video capabilities without the client and therapist being in the same physical location. Such services may include, but are not limited to: assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Conducting therapy via Telehealth is similar to using videoconferencing capabilities to conduct virtual meetings.

Differences Between Traditional Therapy and Telehealth:

Although conducting therapy via Telehealth is a lot like traditional in-person therapy, there are some unique benefits and challenges to conducting therapy via Telehealth.

Benefits of Telehealth include the flexibility and convenience of being able to conduct sessions between the therapist’s office and a client’s home, office, or nearly any other private location, which can increase access to services particularly in times when in-person sessions are restricted or otherwise not possible.

Challenges for Telehealth include: (1) disruption or distortion of sessions due to technological difficulties, (2) increased privacy concerns that may be out of the therapist’s control, such as other individuals that may be in close proximity at a client’s home or office location that may overhear parts of a session, and (3) potential limitations of the therapist’s ability to utilize non-verbal cues or other environmental information in assessment and treatment.

It is also important to understand that Telehealth is not appropriate for all clients and/or all situations. If at any point it is determined that Telehealth is not clinically suitable for a particular client or situation, the therapist will discuss with the client other options and provide appropriate referrals as needed.

Laws regarding confidentiality (and the legal exceptions to confidentiality) for mental health services are the same for Telehealth services as they are for in-person services which are outlined in each client’s informed consent agreement signed at the time of initial assessment . All client’s may revoke consent and decline to continue treatment by way of either Telehealth or in-person services or at any time.

Fees for Telehealth Sessions:

Fees for Telehealth sessions are the same as the fees for in-person sessions as outlined in Choices in Counseling’s fee agreement. Choices in Counseling will make every effort to seek reimbursement to the fullest extent from a client’s insurance for Telehealth sessions. Although most insurance companies have indicated at least temporary approval for mental health clinicians to practice Telehealth, some insurance companies may not cover sessions conducted through Telehealth. If your insurance does not cover tele-health Choices in Counseling will remain flexible in making payment arrangements for any sessions that may not be covered.

Choices in Counseling’s Preferred Telehealth Therapy Platform:

Your Choices in Counseling therapist will notify of the specific platform that he/she has chosen to conduct tele-health sessions. Choices in Counseling will make every effort to provide Telehealth therapy services via a secure, confidential and HIPAA compliant platform.

Access to a client’s session will be provided by a secure session link and/or password at the time of each appointment. If at any time during a scheduled session the connection is interrupted, client’s may contact the therapist at the main office number for Choices in Counseling (317) 346-6252 to make arrangements for additional services or to continue the session.

Tips for Improving Your Telehealth Experience:

An important part of conducting quality therapy via Telehealth is the initial setup. Client’s are encouraged to take time to setup and prepare their technology prior to each session. This will help ensure a productive session and reduce the likelihood of interruptions due to technological difficulties or other setup issues.

Here are some additional ways to maximize the quality of Telehealth therapy sessions:

Identify a quiet, private location that is free from distractions where conversations cannot be overheard by others.

Whenever possible, utilize a quality, high speed internet connection. If the internet connection is typically able to stream Netflix or other video services without buffering, then usually users of a Telehealth platform will have a high quality connection without interruption due to technology issues.

Sound quality is usually best when using earbuds or headphones for sessions. This can also help with privacy issues by reducing the likelihood of parts of a session being overheard by others who may be in close proximity.

Adjust the computer or devices’ camera so that both the therapist and client are visible and can see the other person on the screen.


Emergencies:

When providing services via Telehealth, it is important for the therapist to have some additional information from clients in case of an emergency. At the beginning of each session, the therapist will request the physical address of the client’s current location. This information is necessary so that the therapist can request appropriate assistance in the case of a medical or mental health emergency. In the event of a clinical emergency (medical or mental health), the therapist will contact appropriate law enforcement and/or medical services to render aid.

Telehealth appointments are not intended for crisis intervention services. In the case of a medical or mental health emergency, clients should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

State Licensure:

Choices in Counseling therapists are licensed by the State of Indiana as a Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) and are not licensed outside of the State of Indiana. Therefore, if clients are physically located outside of Indiana at the time of a Telehealth therapy appointment, the therapist will not be able to conduct any sessions while the client is physically outside of Indiana.

Please Select (1) of the Following Options for TeleHealth Therapy: