5 Worst Myths: GA Telemental Health

myth-busters-Telemental-health training requirements

The 5 Worst Myths About Georgia Telemental Health

Here they are. In no particular order…

Myth #1: Telemental health training is required every 5 years.

At present, the Georgia Composite Board of LPC SW and MFT requires telemental health continuing education once. If you have met the telemental health and telemental health supervision training requirements, rule Chapter 135-12, you are done. The hours do not need to be repeated. So strictly speaking they are training requirements- not continuing education. Chap 135-12 is a new rule chapter and separate from 135-9, “Continuing Education”. It was created to accommodate telemental health definitions and requirements. Georgia social worker, professional counselor and marriage and family continuing education is required every two years.

You may have other credentials (for example the NBCC BC-TMH) that have different requirements. But if you have completed Georgia Board requirements you can practice telemental health in Georgia. Read Chapter 135-12 thoroughly to ensure you are in complete compliance.

Myth #2: If you have any form of telephone contact with your clients, you are engaging in telemental health.

The board has not been enforcing scheduling and other business phone calls as practicing telemental health.

Read Chapter 135-12 again: Telemental health is a mode of providing counseling and psychotherapy. It is not defined by specific activities. In contrast, ‘Hi John: since you live in Augusta Georgia and I am in Atlanta, let’s do your therapy via video.‘…that is telemental health under Georgia rules.

Myth #3: Georgia has a telemental health law.

False. Many if not most states do not have telemental health law. Some states’ counseling boards such as Florida are piggybacking off their telemedicine/telehealth law to allow for out-of-state practice of psychotherapy. This process has required those states to first determine whether their telehealth laws can legally be extended to psychotherapy. In Georgia, provisions for counselor telemental health exist only in board rules.

Interestingly, GA SB118 was enacted/signed into law on 5/6/2019. The title of the law has been changed from “Georgia Telemedicine Act” to “Georgia Telehealth Act” and also addresses provisions for practice across state lines. However, this law has not yet been fully explored to allow for legal practice of psychology or psychotherapy across state lines.

Myth #4: Georgia’s Composite Board has reciprocity with some states.

No reciprocity. Georgia’s Composite Board has a process of endorsement for Licensed Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. The endorsement application process includes evaluating whether the home state has substantially similar licensing requirements.

Some states have reciprocal agreements, but there are very specific conditions written into those states’ reciprocity rules and they are written joint agreements. Georgia has no such arrangement with another state. Reciprocity, endorsement and portability are constantly evolving and I work hard to keep up with interstate practice of psychotherapy.

Myth #5: If I follow HIPAA law, I am safely delivering telemental health to my patients.

Following HIPAA means you are in compliance with federal law. There are many other factors in safe electronic therapy. In terms of threats to your practice license there are other serious problems inherent in distance communication. –All of that HIPAA communication is still on a third party server. If it is a third party provider of telemental health that you have contracted with, they in effect own that information. If you are using the patient’s insurance company telemed platform, privacy is an even greater issue. To the extent they have access to the databases and servers, they have captured in video/audio every intervention you did –or did not do and should have. Consider whether you want any third party having access to such detailed information–it can be taken out of context.

The greatest hazard to your license lies in the fact that you are delivering the services in an environment you don’t control. The patient controls the environment. It doesn’t matter how many informed consents and other agreements you have them sign. Doesn’t matter how HIPAA compliant. These problems may be reconcilable in your case. Carefully consider the type of psychotherapy activities and interventions you intend to provide.

Telemental health is here to stay. How it can be done safely involves problems that still need to be worked out.

Licensing and Ethics Consultation

LPC Licensing Consultation

As an ethics consultant, prior workshop participants have an open invitation to call me free of charge for assistance with a personal ethical dilemma. Call now 404-985-6785

Ethics need not be anxiety provoking and frightening. Even experienced clinicians are faced with difficult treatment decisions and concerns about ethical conduct. Concerned if we are doing the right thing. I provide ethics consultation to licensed professionals to help them work through ethical dilemmas.

As a former board investigator who made formal judgements on over 200 licensee complaints,  I will teach you to quickly analyze your scenario and arrive at the decision that is best for you. Please contact me by phone. We can discuss if an in office consultation is necessary.


GA Approved Supervision Ethics Courses

“The content and quality of the material and presentation was superb! The workshop has assisted me in finding new ways to reduce paperwork. Thank you.” –Barbara Lattimore “…extremely thorough information for our new supervision program. Thank you.” -Angela Wheelus. “Eye-opening workshop as regards board law rulings versus civil law proceedings!” Georgia LCSW

LPC Supervision Ethics: Documentation and Stress-Free Supervision

5 Hours. Meets CPCS and GA composite board ethics requirements. Register Now.

For supervisors and supervisees. This ethics workshop will teach you the process for reaching the ultimate goal in providing clinical supervision: freedom from apprehension, anxiety and tentativeness so you can focus on developing the confidence to create competent.

There is a higher probability of a licensee being sanctioned when the board determines that addiction is material evidence in an ethics complaint. As a supervisor you may encounter supervisees with prior disciplinary actions taken against their license. In addition, after engaging in a supervision arrangements you may discover your supervisee is in active addiction. The afternoon session will focus on supervising the impaired professional.

This workshop is an excellent opportunity for supervisees needing to know what both your supervisor and state licensing board expect of you.ga approved cpcs ethics

Course Objectives:1) Participants will demonstrate knowledge of critical factors in interviewing and selecting candidates for supervision.2) Participants will demonstrate learning of  “The Redundancy Principle” and it’s importance in providing authoritative clinical supervision.3) Participants will demonstrate abilities to remove constraints and obstacles and allow supervision to less stressful and more rewarding.5) Participants will demonstrate increased understanding of how, what and why to document activities with supervisees.

Due to decreased quality employment clinical supervision boundairesopportunities and other factors necessary in learning the practice of psychotherapy, many new therapists are receiving incomplete clinical training in critical areas of practice. Nonetheless, many are eager to engage in a supervision relationship that will make them better therapists. As supervisors, a philosophy of creating competent therapists prior to their practicing independently allows us to participate in enhancing ethical practice within the profession. The concept of freedom in supervision is predicated on supervisors reconciling concerns about personal liabilities, when to actively intervene and allowing supervisees opportunities to take risk, make mistakes and grow. This workshop will teach supervisors how to attain this freedom and fluidity.

Your Presenter: Eric Groh, LPC CPCS ACS Level II National Certified Gambling Counselor

Eric has 20+ years experience designing and implementing mental health and addiction treatment programs to address psychological trauma and emotional adjustment issues. For over 12 years he has provided licensure supervision and advanced clinical consultation particularly in the area of ethical dilemmas. He was the founder and catalyst who oversaw the ground up development of the State Chapter Georgia Council on Problem Gambling. He is the first of only three National Certified Gambling Counselors in the state of Georgia and the only NCGC Level II which requires 2000 direct contact hours. As a U.S. DHHS consultant post-Hurricane Katrina, he assisted with the development of a protocol for the first PTSD Screening for the Louisiana State Board of Health. He is a national presenter and trainer of therapists with a primary focus on ethics workshops. Eric is a former president of the Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists.ga approved cpcs ethics

nbcc approved continuing education provider georgia

Eric Groh LPC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6921.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Eric Groh LPC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.