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Mental Health Treatment: How to Get Started with Telehealth IOP Services

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Mental Health Treatment: How to Get Started with Telehealth IOP Services

In the wake of Covid-19, mental health treatment facilities have been forced into an unfamiliar territory – how to get started with telehealth IOP Services. Once considered to be the less than desirable way to deliver IOP services, today it's the preferred method, with 76% of consumers looking to engage in virtual IOP services. 

Providers of mental health treatment services are embracing the push from consumer demands and venturing into the virtual IOP setting. We’re here to guide you through the process of getting your telehealth IOP started.

Effectiveness of Telehealth IOP Services

Research indicates that teleheealth IOP services are just as effective in the treatment of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders found that online cognitive behavioral therapy was equally as effective as face-to-face treatment for major depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Step down services, like IOP and OP, are an essential part of recovery process - the longer the episode of care, the greater chance of success for the client. Often times, clients will have to forego such services, with their preferred provider due to work obligations, insufficient financial resources, or lack of transportation. Virtual telehealth IOP and OP services bridge the gap.

Build on Your Existing Infrastructure

Chances are, you’re already offering an in-person IOP - expanding into a virtual telehealth setting does not require your business to reinvent the wheel. Rather, use the resources available to you and modify them to fit your new model of care. Here are the top 10 telehealth challenges and how to overcome them. Take your curriculum and consider how it will be received in a screen-to-screen setting. Train your staff on using engaging group resources, get familiar with the video platform and take advantage of all the potential to use multimedia in a group setting.

Double Check State, Federal, and Insurance Regulations

In order to stay in compliance, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, make sure that you choose a platform that is in compliant with HIPAA. Next, check your local governing body to see if you are required to obtain a particular certification to facilitate a virtual service. Each state’s requirements are different. Check in with your malpractice and general liability insurance to make sure you’re protected for virtual services. Make sure your consent forms can be signed remotely, and that they have included a section specific to virtual services. Not every insurance plan covers virtual telehealth services. It’s important to check the in-network and out-of-network benefits. Billing for virtual services is similar to billing for in-person sessions. Right now, most large insurance companies have adjusted their coverage to extend to telehealth services.

Find out more about current state laws, and specific reimbursements here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which services are appropriate to provide through a virtual telehealth IOP platform?

Virtual telehealth therapeutic services in an individual, family, or group setting are considered to be just as effective as in person services. Be mindful of your population - an adolescent population will likely be more adept at accessing virtual services than an elderly population. Leave time to educate your clients on the use of the technology. 

How many clients should I allow into the groups?

Traditionally, effective group therapy should occur in group sizes between 6-12 members. A challenge with a virtual group includes keeping the members engaged - start small and see how it goes.

How long is my virtual program?

An IOP will last anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks - your virtual telehealth program should be no different. OP services should go on for as long as it is beneficial for the client with weekly or bi-weekly sessions.

How can we monitor client well-being from a distance?

A challenge with this virtual telehealth setting is that you’re unable to read body language, which could typically indicate an issue. Make sure you’re sending assessments between sessions for high-risk clients.

Which platform is best for me?

We’re glad you asked! There are dozens of services out there - choosing what’s right for your business starts with exploring and researching your options. Start HERE, and let one of our OPUS team members show you how our EHR and Telehealth platform can optimize your virtual telehealth IOP services startup.

Ready to find a better EHR and Telehealth platform?

Opus is a complete and total clinical solution better than just an EHR. If you have questions or want to learn more, we should schedule a time to talk. Contact us today to see it in action.

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