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New York Expands Telemedicine Regulations

The authorized use of telehealth to deliver mental health services to New Yorkers has been expanded by amendments to the state Office of Mental Health’s (OMH) Telemental Health Services regulations increasing the types of professionals who may provide care and the places where care recipients can be treated.

The New York OMH’s Telemental Health Services program aims to improve the availability of mental health services by allowing recipients to receive services virtually at a location distant from the treating practitioner, where such services may not be readily accessible because of distance, location, time, or inadequate resources.

Under the amended regulations, in addition to physicians and nurse practitioners, “Telemental Health Practitioners” eligible to provide Telemental Health Services include the following:

  • Psychologists

  • Licensed social workers

  • Mental health counselors

  • Marriage and family therapists

  • Creative arts therapists

  • Psychoanalysts

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).

To expand access to care, the amended regulations eliminated the requirement that Telemental Health Practitioners be physically located at a site that participates in Medicaid. Practitioners may deliver Telemental Health Services from anywhere in the state, while prescribers of Telemental Health Services (i.e., nurse practitioners in psychiatry and psychiatrists) need only be located within the United States.

The eligible places where care recipients can receive Telemental Health Services was expanded to include the recipient’s place of residence, or at a temporary location within or outside the State of New York, as well as sites licensed by the OMH.

The amended regulations also expanded the settings in which Telemental Health Services can be provided to recipients. Services may be provided within Assertive Community Treatment teams and Personalized Recovery-Oriented Service programs by psychiatrists and nurse practitioners in psychiatry. Telemental Health 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.

These amended regulations will have a significant impact for individuals who receive services through an Article 31 facility, expanding access to mental health services for New Yorkers and medical reimbursement for the Telemental Health Practitioners.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2022National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 198

About this Author

Frank J. Fanshawe, Jackson Lewis, Hospital Payment System Lawyer, public policy issues attorney

Frank J. Fanshawe is a Principal in the Albany, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on health care law and privacy and data security. He has 25 years of experience, including significant real-world legal and executive-level experience with a nationally recognized health insurer in the northeastern United States.

Mr. Fanshawe previously served as a senior adviser to the New York State Senate Health Committee chair on legislative and public policy issues in connection with New York's deregulation of the hospital payment...

Julieann Diamond-Carrow Of Counsel Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Of Counsel

Julieann Diamond-Carrow is Of Counsel in the Albany, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Ms. Diamond-Carrow has 20 years of experience in health law and provides legal counsel and business advice to  health care entities and providers, including health systems, hospitals, nursing homes, physician practices and participants of the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program. She has extensive experience handling a wide range of transactional and operational matters, including corporate governance and authority, regulatory and compliance issues, physician...

Ashley Solowan Health Lawyer Jackson Lewis Law Firm

Ashley Solowan is an Associate in the Albany, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on health law, corporate law, transactional law, and data privacy law.

Mrs. Solowan assists clients with HIPAA compliance, federal and state fraud and abuse laws (e.g., Anti-Kickback and Stark), and cybersecurity and data privacy issues involving HIPAA/HITECH compliance. Mrs. Solowan is also involved in the formation and dissolution of corporate entities, as well as drafting agreements in the context of HIPAA and data privacy law.