New York Expands Telepsychiatry Regulations

August 2019 ~

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), in July, announced the adoption of expanded telepsychiatry regulations. The new regulations have been designed to enable more mental health practitioners to utilize virtual technology and electronic communication to provide care at a distance and offer residents greater access to a range of mental health services.

Prior to the expansion, only “Telemental Health Practitioners,” limited to psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners, were permitted to use telemedicine technology to provide care. The previous regulations also required Telemental Health Practitioners to be physically located at an office or other health services setting that participated in Medicaid.

Under the new regulations, however, the list of Telemental Health Practitioners will now include psychologists, licensed social workers, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, creative arts therapists, and psychoanalysts licensed under Article 163 of the State Education Law.

The amended regulations will also allow practitioners to offer telemental health services through from anywhere in New York State. The expansion also permits telemental health services at more hub locations, including a practitioner’s home office and private practice settings. Additionally, the regulations add Assertive Community Treatment and Personalized Recovery-Oriented Service sites as eligible treatment settings.

Telemental Health Practitioners must receive written approval from the OMH, after submitting a written plan, before providing Telemental Health Services to recipients of facilities licensed under state law (Article 31 of the Mental Hygiene Law). Services will be authorized by the OMH for a period not to exceed one year if the treatment teams and service programs can demonstrate a shortage of psychiatrists and nurse practitioners in psychiatry. If a continued shortage after the initial one-year period can be demonstrated, an extension not to exceed one additional year may be given.

Source(s): The New York State Office of Mental Health; New York State; Becker’s Hospital Review; Hurwitz & Fine, P.C.; National Law Review; Politico;