1. Obtain informed consent from the client to receive therapy services via phone or internet. Consent can be verbal or written but must be documented (eg in a progress note).
2. Inform the client of the potential risks and limitations of receiving treatment via telehealth. This includes making sure the client understands the technology may not guarantee confidentiality and privacy in the way that face-to-face sessions can.
3. Provide the client with your license or registration number and the type of license or registration.
4. Make reasonable efforts to find contact information of relevant resources, including emergency services, in the patient’s geographic area. Document these efforts.
AT EACH SESSION:
1. Know the client’s full name and address of their present location. Can be obtained verbally but must be documented for each session.
2. Assess whether the client is appropriate for telehealth, in their current psychosocial situation.
3. Utilize industry best practices for confidentiality and the security of the communication medium.
WHEN THE CLIENT IS NOT IN CALIFORNIA:
1. Meet the legal requirements to provide services in the state or jurisdiction where the client is. Usually this means having a license to practice therapy in that state. Some states have exemptions to practicing therapy without being licensed in that state, for a limited time period or number of sessions, if it in the client's best interest (eg to transition out of a therapy relationship just after a client moves). You can contact the licensing board of the state to find out if they allow that.
2. Determine that delivery of services via telehealth is allowed by that state or jurisdiction.
Law and Ethics Nuts and Bolts
If you provide therapy on the phone or over the internet (eg Skype), telemedicine (aka telehealth) laws require you to do the following:
AT THE ONSET: