Barriers to Telemental HealthThose of you who are fans of Behavioral Healthcare Magazine may have noticed my column related to technology in this leading industry publication. If you are unfamiliar with the publication, Behavioral Healthcare is the industry’s leading practical resource on technology, reimbursement, and treatment trends for managers and clinicians in the mental health and substance abuse fields.  My blog entry there this month had to do with the “Top 5 Barriers to Telemental Health.”

Existing Barriers to Telemental Health

The barriers to telemental health discussed in the article include:

  1. Regulations and restrictions by state boards
  2. E-Prescribing
  3. Limited reimbursement
  4. Practitioner adoption
  5. Privacy and security

To date, 29 of the 49 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have enacted commercial payment requirements for insurers. Federally, Medicare already reimburses providers for many forms of telehealth, and remaining barriers to telemental health within Medicaid as well as Medicaid are being removed one-by-one. Our legislators on both sides of the aisle are hard at work proposing bi-partisan bills that reflect the U.S. government eagerness to use telehealth systems to reach many more people in need of care. The result is that many new legislative bills are proposed in several other states. A bill that just came out last week in Florida is a prime example of what many practitioners can expect across the country. While it isn’t a legislative mandate, it does pave the way for dramatic change in the near future.

Changing Reimbursement Structures for Providers

Other factors previously preventing the widespread adoption of telehealth involve the very structure of payment systems in the United States. Until now, clinicians have been paid for delivering care in segments of time, regardless of the patient’s improvement. This is changing, and with it, technology is finding an increasing role in everyday health care delivery, both in mainstream medicine, and soon, in behavioral care.

See this page for the full article

Your feedback is invited below. What do you think the current barriers to telemental health are in your area of interest?

ATA Annual Meeting, May 14-17, 2016

BTW, if you want to discuss these issues with the world’s leaders in telemental health, join me at the American Telemedicine Association‘s (ATA) Annual Meeting, May 14-17, 2016. It is the largest meeting for telehealth-interested professionals in the United States and Canada, and the best telehealth networking meeting of the year. With more than 600 telemental health professionals belonging to their Special Interest Group (SIG), their annual meeting is always both informative and inspirational. The meeting this year will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ll be there as well. Join me for the E-Prescribing Short Course, where I’ll be addressing the Medical Psychology and the Ryan Haight Act, on May 14, 2016 from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM CST.

If you enjoy social networking events, you might also want to consider attending one of our TMHI MEETUPS! We’ll be sharing an evening of fine dining on Monday evening, the 16th of May at one of the convention hotel restaurants.


Make your reservation now by clicking here