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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

July 30, 2019

OMH Expands Telemental Services With New Regulations

Patients are now to able to receive virtual mental health services in their homes or other convenient locations under expansive new regulations issued by the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH). The list of eligible mental health practitioners capable of delivering telemental services was also expanded to serve the unmet need. The list of locations where practitioners can deliver these services has additionally been adjusted to include home offices and private practice settings. The changes are part of an ambitious effort to better connect New Yorkers to mental health professionals regardless of where the parties are located.

According to the OMH, effective July 3, 2019, the final regulations “give New Yorkers greater access to a range of mental health services using electronic communication.” The OMH notes two-thirds of New York State’s 62 counties are designated “mental health professional shortage areas.” In order to attempt to close this gap, the state now allows psychologists, licensed social workers, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, creative arts therapists, and psychoanalysts to provide electronic services in addition to those already permitted. Psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners may deliver these services from a US-based site, including their residences. Other practitioners must deliver services from a site within New York State.

In light of the new regulations, patients have much more flexibility in where they can receive mental health services, allowing them to access care at their residence, temporary locations both inside and outside the state, and OMH-licensed facilities. The regulations also permit telemental services to be delivered in the OMH Assertive Community Treatment and Personal Recovery-Oriented Service programs. As we noted in our previous “Broad Expansion of ‘Telemental’ Services” alert, these regulations were first proposed in January 2019.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Susan Benz, Health Care & Human Services Practice Area co-chair, at sbenz@barclaydamon.com or another member of the firm’s Health Care & Human Services Practice Area.

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