Telemedicine in Psychiatry

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Those employing telemedicine in psychiatry shall ensure a high standard of care, 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:

    1. Providing and maintaining high standards for on-site video equipment and broadband width capacity (at least 384 Kbps) where the patient and psychiatrist provider are located;
    2. Establishing proper procedures and training for staff at the sites where the patient and psychiatrist provider are located, including emergency protocols;
    3. Verifying the identity and location of the patient, obtaining written 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).
    4. 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;
    5. Updating regulation of telemedicine in psychiatry as appropriate with advancing research in technology and clinical experience.
  3. 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.
  4. Government and commercial payers shall reimburse for psychiatric services via telemedicine at the same rates as the same psychiatric services provided in-person. 
  5. Providing psychiatric services via telemedicine shall not be a substitute for in-person psychiatric services solely for cost-saving reasons.

Resources

  1. American Medical Association Policy H-480.946 Coverage of and Payment for Telemedicine
  2. American Psychiatric Association Position Statement on Telemedicine in Psychiatry, December 2015
  3. Wang, Kai-ping, Telepsychiatry, March 5, 2014, Adopted by the NJ Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, March 2, 2014 and the NJPA Board of Trustees on March 3, 2014

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