Telehealth Consultation Requirements for Maryland Mental Health Providers

The Tele-mental Health Guide defines tele-mental health as “the provision of mental health services using live, interactive videoconferencing.” We recently shed some light on the benefits of tele-mental health services for both practitioners and patients. Many agree that convenient remote access to mental health services will increase efficiency and allow patients in underserved areas to receive continuous quality care on a greater scale.

If you are a Maryland mental health provider you may be wondering, “Where can I sign up?” Let’s discuss the next steps and potential barriers to implementing telehealth consultations.

Telehealth Consultation Requirements in Maryland

The regulations governing the provision of telehealth services varies state-to-state, and this can get tricky if you plan to practice with patients across state lines. According to the Maryland Health Care Commission, telehealth consultation requirements include the following:

  • Licensing – A physician must be licensed in the State if either or both the individual practicing medicine or if the patient is physically located in Maryland
  • Credentials – If a multi-site hospital credentials physicians specifically for the site at which they are located, every physician within the hospital system must be credentialed at all hospital sites in order to provide telehealth services
  • Liability – A physician must work with their insurance carrier to determine if coverage is available and if so, the extent of coverage allowed under their policy (liability and malpractice insurance for tele-health services varies by carrier)
  • Financial – Physicians must purchase and maintain equipment for these services
  • Staffing – For organizations interested in providing telehealth services, access to providers that are able and willing to provide these services and support the needs of the organization as they implement and grow their services is a must
  • Registration – Those registering to be telehealth providers must be enrolled in the Maryland Medical Assistance Program and register as an originating or distant site via an online form before rendering services

Technical Requirements for Telehealth Consultations in Maryland

According to the Maryland Medicaid Telehealth Provider Manual, providers shall, at a minimum, meet the following technical requirements:

  • A camera that has the ability to manually, or under remote control, provide multiple views of a patient with the capability of altering the resolution, focus, and zoom requirements according to the consultation
  • Have display monitor size sufficient to support diagnostic needs used in the telehealth service
  • Bandwidth speed and image resolution sufficient to provide quality video to meet a minimum of 15 frames per second, or higher, as industry standards change
  • Audio equipment that ensures clear communication and includes echo cancellation
  • Creates audio transmission with less than 300 millisecond delay

Provider Registration – Take the First Step to Implementing Telehealth Today

If you are a provider who is interested in offering consultations, you may be enrolled in the fee-for-service (FFS) program or a HealthChoice managed care organization (MCO). Don’t let the requirements overwhelm you – be proactive! Taking the first required step is simple, all you have to do is fill out this Telehealth Registration Form. To complete the registration process you will need:

  • Your Maryland Medical Assistance provider number
  • Your National Provider Identification (NPI) number
  • An email account to receive for communications from the Telehealth team

*Note: After Medicaid verifies your registration information, you will receive a confirmation email. Until Medicaid confirms your registration, providers should not bill for telehealth services. If you have any questions, you should email or refer to this Telehealth Provider Manual*

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Provide Quality Care through Tele-mental Health Consultations

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that anxiety, depression, substance abuse and other psychological ailments affect nearly one in five Americans, or 43.8 million people. However, it can be difficult for people with behavioral problems to seek help from a mental health professional and receive an accurate diagnosis. Mental health services are often offered in abundance in urban and suburban areas, making it difficult for people in rural areas to conveniently access the help that they need. That’s where tele-mental health comes in.


What is Tele-mental Health?

The Tele-mental Health Guide defines tele-mental health as “the provision of mental health services using live, interactive videoconferencing.” It makes sense, doesn’t it? In an instant we can use videoconferencing to virtually connect face-to-face with our friends, out-of-state relatives and business associates – so why not use this technology to serve mental health patients from afar? Tele-mental health consultations are an increasingly popular way to provide quality mental health services to those living in underserved communities with limited clinicians.

What are the Benefits of Tele-mental Health Services?

Without convenient access to mental health services, those suffering tend to neglect seeking proper treatment. Who wants to drive 200 miles out of town to the closest specialist for continuous care? In the past, patients were forced to make that kind of time and shell out for gas, potential childcare and missed work days if they wanted to be seen. Tele-mental health consultations provide mental health access like never before for both doctors and patients. Some of the benefits associated with tele-mental health services include:

  • Access to patients worldwide, resulting in an increased patient pool for practitioners
  • Ability to facilitate an immediate 3-way consultative session with a specialist through video conferencing, allowing for more comprehensive care on the same visit
  • Higher consumer and practitioner satisfaction
  • Increased convenience and efficiency
  • Minimized/eliminated travel costs for patients
  • Increased comfortability for those who find it difficult to open up to specialists in person
  • Same day psychological test results
  • Reduced emergency care costs (by diagnosing and treating illnesses earlier on).

What is the Goal of Tele-mental Health Services Moving Forward?

The primary goal of tele-mental health services is to provide patients with the highest quality comprehensive care. Many clinical groups and medical professionals that have employed tele-mental health capabilities have reported that the efficiency of remote care is on par with in-person care.

Want more useful information? Visit our blog again! Vetters Enterprises is a full service practice management company specializing in practice management, revenue cycle optimization and private practice support. Contact us today if you’d like to see how we can help you improve your cash flow.