REGISTERED INTERNS TELEHEALTH UPDATE
Good morning Registered Mental Health Counselor Interns,
I just received this update from Florida Continuing Education Inc. concerning the Florida Board’s emergency rules update. I wanted to pass it on in case you are not on their mailing list or have not heard about the new rule for us concerning telehealth.
HOW DOES THE NEW RULE HELP?
This new rule removes some of the previous restrictions on teletherapy and further expands the definition of face-to-face psychotherapy to include electronic media. This means:
• NEW AND EXISTING CLIENTS CAN BE SERVED - Registered interns may now provide telehealth services for new and existing clients during the next 90 days as well as count those hours toward supervision.
• YOUR SUPERVISOR DOES NOT NEED TO BE ON THE PREMISES - But the registered intern must have a written telehealth protocol and safety plan in place with their current supervisor which includes the provision that the qualified supervisor must be readily available during the electronic therapy session.
• ALL SUPERVISOR SESSIONS CAN BE ELECTRONIC - This includes talking on the telephone instead of in-person supervision.
• THE HOURS WILL COUNT - Any clinical hours obtained via face-to-face psychotherapy by electronic means shall be considered clinical hours for the purpose of meeting internship requirements.
If you would like a copy of the rule in the Board's language and have questions, please feel free to email me and I will send you a copy and answer your questions to the best of my ability; RegisteredInterns@mhccf.com or visit the website directly by clicking the button below.
Please use this link below provided by the American Counselors Association (ACA) for counselors interested in letting members of Congress know how we and our clients are being impacted by COVID-19. The "letter" is an easy form to complete online and submit right away digitally. They request these submissions be completed by Monday, April 13! Take some time this weekend to think about how this may benefit your clients and potentially your practice.
Button not working? Copy and paste the link here: https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/2--GhHmt_wFQV4MiZun6rA
ACA members make a big difference in ACA’s efforts to advocate for counseling. Legislators pay attention when they hear from their constituents. And if they don’t hear from anyone about issues that affect counseling, they may not pay attention to those issues. ACA uses VoterVoice to simplify the process for members to contact their representatives on federal and state issues. You can scroll down to the recent VoterVoice campaigns or you can scroll to the bottom to find the contact information for your representatives by entering your zip code, and contact them yourself. Either way, we appreciate your help.
Update provided by Julie, Legislative Chair of MHCCF
ORANGE COUNTY STAY-AT-HOME EXEC. ORDER (EFF. 3/26/20-4.9.20)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Executive Orders over the State of Florida are executed by Governor Ron DeSantis. This article impacts those who reside in Orange County.
Orange County Mayor, Jerry L. Demings, the Director of Emergency Management, instituted Emergency Executive Order 2020-04.
This Executive Order will require Orange County residents to stay-at-home for non-essential travel and work. There are a lot of places that will remain open. Please be sure to read the full Executive Order HERE.
Regarding the Orange County mental health providers, mental health professionals are deemed essential in this document in Section 2:B1 (excerpt below)
"(b) The following retail and commercial businesses are deemed essential,
and may remain open:
(1) Healthcare providers, including, but not limited to,
hospitals, doctors' and dentists' offices, urgent care centers, clinics,
rehabilitation facilities, physical therapists, mental health professionals,
psychiatrists, therapists, pharmacies, veterinarians and animal care
There is an important reminder for essential businesses in section 2 C: “Employers and employees of such essential businesses are urged to practice social distancing, such as keeping at least six (6) feet apart and limiting group size to less than ten (10) people.”
Executive Orders for Orange County residents can be found here:
Orange County Florida Government COVID-19 Information
COVID-19: TELETOWN HALL - MARCH 30 @ 7:15 PM
Please see the clipped excerpts from Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy's press release:
ORLANDO—U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., will host a series of events this week to discuss the government’s response to the public health crisis posed by coronavirus and to listen to her constituents. Murphy will be remotely joined by health care experts for a Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall on Monday, March 30 at 7:15 p.m. to answer questions from constituents about the health and economic impacts resulting from this global pandemic.
For the Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall, which will be held on Monday, March 30 at 7:15 p.m., residents of Florida’s Seventh Congressional District may join the town hall by calling toll-free 1-866-383-2729. Some residents may also receive an automated telephone call from Murphy’s office that will give them the option to be automatically connected into the telephone town hall. Anyone on the call may listen to the live event and specific instructions will be provided for callers who wish to ask a question. Constituents can also listen to an audio stream of the event online by visiting https://murphy.house.gov/live/.
Be sure to visit the pages below often. There are a number reliable sources of information that provide up to date information on COVID-19. Please consider using some of the following resources when sharing information on social media and other platforms.
Provides vast variety of resources including a section on MythBusters along with graphics that can be downloaded and shared, a COVID-19 Informative Video Series, which is a series of 6 shareable videos through Vimeo, an option for WHO COVID-19 Text Updates via WhatsApp and more!
Provides print resources like fact sheets, posters and flyers, video resources, FAQ, a sign up for email updates, an entire Public Health Media Library and more!
Florida Department of Health (FDOH)
Provides Outreach Materials such as PSA videos for Children and Adults, free printable posters, resources in both English and Haitian Creole and Spanish. You can also receive a Daily Report, including one that is county specific.
The 491 Board held an emergency meeting to discuss emergency rule 64B4ER20-20, Florida Administrative Codes. This rule allows registered interns to provide telehealth services to existing clients during the next 90 days if they establish and adhere to the following:
The emergency rule also allows qualified supervisors to utilize face-to-face electronic methods (not telephone only communication) to conduct all supervision sessions for internship hours.
HIPPA TELEHEALTH AMENDMENTS
Under this amendment, health care providers may use popular applications that allow for video chats, including:
Using these platforms mental health providers are now able to provide telehealth without risk that OCR might seek to impose a penalty for noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules related to the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.
COVID-19: SAMPLE EMAIL TO CLIENTS
Consider sending your clients an update on how you are responding to the pandemic by sending them an email. It can be hard to find the right verbiage at a time like this. SimplePractice and TherapyNotes have both shared FREE sample email templates you can use and modify for use with clients. It may even just help you know where to start. Check out their samples below.