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Office of Mental Health

Telemental Health Services

Telemental health plays a valuable role when on-site services are delayed or not available. Telemental health can:

  • improve access to care
  • offer local care in a timely fashion
  • improve continuity of care
  • improve treatment compliance and coordination of care.

"Telemental health" is the use of two-way real time-interactive audio and video equipment to support clinical psychiatric care.

Telepsychiatry/Telemental Health Timeline:

2015: OMH establishes a formal set of standards for using "telepsychiatry".

2016: OMH expands regulation to allow the use of telepsychiatry beyond licensed MHL Article 31 mental health clinic settings.

July 3, 2019: OMH expands the 14 NYCRR Part 596 regulation to allow more providers to deliver services via "telemental health."
Additional Professionals include:

  • psychologists,
  • social workers,
  • mental health counselors,
  • marriage and family therapists,
  • creative arts therapists
  • psychoanalysts

The term "telepsychiatry" changes to "telemental health" acknowledging OMH's broader use of technology.

OMH expands the definition of "hub" or distant site to include home offices and private practices.

The definition of "spoke" or originating site expands to include anywhere the recipient is located within New York State, or a temporary location within or outside of New York State.

OMH-licensed ACT teams and PROS programs are now considered to be eligible treatment settings. Specific guidelines are outlined in the regulation.

Current exclusions include:

  • use for medication over objection
  • restraint and seclusion ordering
  • MHL Article 9 commitments

Guidelines

To help the public understand the new rules under Part 596, OMH has updated the Telemental Health Guidance document.

This new document offers direction to OMH licensed or designated providers who wish to offer telemental health to their clients. The document describes the implications for:

  • OMH operating certificates
  • the inspection process
  • clinical guidance
  • training resources
  • billing guidelines
  • technology and telecommunication standards

OMH has also revised the Technical Guidelines Checklist for Local Providers. OMH advises programs to review these guidelines and incorporate relevant provisions in their plans. Plans must be consistent with OMH Technical Specifications on videoconferencing.

Telemental Health Guidance for Local Providers

Part 596 Telemental Health Regulations

Comments or questions about the information on this page can be directed to the Bureau of Inspection and Certification