The New Jersey Psychiatric Association supports the use of telemedicine in psychiatry, which can safely provide access to care when properly used and certain standards are observed.
The use of telemedicine in psychiatry shall meet all applicable federal and state regulations for the practice of medicine, including licensing of providers for the appropriate scope of practice, as well as maintaining privacy and confidentiality of treatment, and required record-keeping.
Those employing telemedicine in psychiatry shall ensure the same standard of care as face-to-face interactions, taking into consideration guidelines set forth by the American Psychiatric Association, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Medical Association. These include, but are not limited to: a. Providing and maintaining on-site video equipment and broadband connectivity that allows for clear video and audio signals. b. Establishing proper procedures and training for staff at the sites where the patient and psychiatrist provider are located, including emergency protocols. c. Verifying the identity and location of the patient, obtaining consent from the patient and/or guardian after being clearly informed of the nature of telepsychiatry services, the identity, and qualifications of treatment provider(s). d. Maintaining privacy and confidentiality so that only the patient, psychiatrist, and identified participants are able to observe or listen to the session. e. Assuming responsibility to ensure that all safety and legal requirements are met at the time of service, including emergency protocols, if choosing to provide services to a patient who is not present at an established healthcare location.
Telepsychiatry shall be used only if in the psychiatrist’s judgment it is clinically appropriate to use it in lieu of in-person psychiatric services.
Telehealth via audio-only, when utilized to ensure equitable access to treatment for those without the means to use audio-video capabilities, and when determined by the physician to be medically appropriate, shall be allowed and equally reimbursed.
Government and commercial payers shall reimburse for psychiatric services via telemedicine at the same rates as the same psychiatric services provided in-person and shall not place barriers to delivering telehealth, such as stricter utilization reviews or requiring specific technology platforms.
Telemedicine regulations should be updated as appropriate with advancing research in technology and clinical experience.
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