APA Releases Model Legislation for State Telehealth Advocacy
In March, the Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a Public Health Emergency. This resulted in numerous changes with respect to how and when telehealth may be delivered and covered at the federal level. In conjunction with federal mandates, each state’s respective governors generally also followed suit, declaring public health emergencies, which changed the telehealth landscape at the state level.
This nationwide call to action to ensure access for those with mental health and substance use disorders via telehealth is unprecedented in modern times. APA has been tracking these changes around the clock during the PHE. Since March, we have developed a number of resources for members to reflect the changes at the federal and state levels, as well as with private payers. We also have engaged with our members to summarize APA policy and to engage in rigorous advocacy that will enable psychiatrists to continue to use telehealth to safely treat their patients during and after the global pandemic.
During the PHE, states have swiftly adopted changes to telehealth regulatory policy, resulting in increased access to care. Recognizing that such changes were intended to be temporary, APA has drafted model legislation, with the intention of helping states to retain these new policies by enshrining them into law.
You can view this new telehealth model legislation here. If you are interested in advocating for changes to your state’s telehealth laws, please contact your District Branch. APA's Office of State Government Affairs and its appropriate Regional Director will then partner with your District Branch in advocacy efforts with your state legislature.
APA Telepsychiatry Resources for Psychiatrists
- Our initial Telepsychiatry Blog post, outlining changes to telehealth reimbursement, HIPAA, and the electronic prescription of controlled substances (i.e., "Ryan Haight")
- Our main COVID-19 Practice page, including state-by-state guidance
- A guidance document, Support of the Permanent Expansion of Telehealth Regulations after COVID-19, by the APA Telepsychiatry Committee and Disaster Response Committee on the changes
- Results of an APA survey on telehealth use during COVID and policy recommendations
- Webinars on transitioning to a telepsychiatry practice in the era of COVID-19
Other Advocacy Efforts
APA's Congressional testimony and Winter and Spring Congressional briefings.
Multiple letters to the Administration