Telehealth in these times…

Hello Valued Members,

This page was last updated 4/27/2020.

With the Covid-19 virus updates, we too want to keep you updated and in-the-know with the most current information. There are a lot of questions about how to best respond to this pandemic as well as how to address continued practice through the changing times. IMHCA wants to be a resource to you all and create a one-stop for all your telehealth and Covid-19 needs. The following newsletter will do just that.

Here is a link to the guidelines from the CDC on decreasing the likelihood of contamination. We have found the following blog which has a very comprehensive response with questions and answers for your practice and Covid-19 from Miranda Palmner with Zynnyme.


Guidelines from Optum:

WELLMARK: see attachment as of 3/24/2020Virtual

From Wellmark 3/25/2020 to IMHCA:

We ask that you direct any of your Association members with questions about Wellmark’s policies on telehealth, or reimbursement to:



Telehealth across state lines. Can you do it?

See link here:


Telehealth Training options (these are not required, but are best practice):

Also is offering their training with CEUs
Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals: 2-Day Distance Therapy Training
which is normally over $400 for free with code TELEFREE
Free trainings listed here in a google document:
Good morning,
 TLC Tuesdays is an online series for providers who are new to or unfamiliar with telehealth. We hope you will take advantage of this free program from 10-11 a.m. Central Time every Tuesday through April.
In each session, TTC Network specialists will spend 20 minutes addressing a specific topic, then answer questions submitted by TLC Tuesday registrants. Recordings of the 20-minute presentations as well as additional resources will be posted on the web page as they become available.
You must register separately for each TLC Tuesdays session. While filling out the registration form, you will prompted to submit any questions you might have.
Register by clicking one of the dates below.
Certificates of completion will be available.
Best wishes, The Team at Mid-America MHTTC
Self care is so important in this time. Please take care of you so we are better able to help others. Here are some resources. And, of course, you may use some in practice. It never hurts to explore some of these.
1. Headspace:
3. The National Alliance on Mental Illness have put together a comprehensive guide to anxiety, loneliness and other hardships due to the pandemic.



The National Council has compiled a reference document that includes details on these changes and more, titled “Best Practices for Telehealth During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” This document is intended to provide mental health and substance use treatment providers with the background and resources necessary to help begin or expand the use of telehealth.


National Coucil updates for behavioral health is a great resource for knowing what’s coming in mental and behavioral health recommendations and requirements:

Latest COVID-19 Response Bill Supports Behavioral Health Providers


Useful link for state rules and regulations:



Keep in mind these are only good for as long as the state has issues their state of emergency. Once this is lifted, proclamations and exceptions to rules will no longer be in effect.

Updated 3/20/2020: Here is a free app counselors use to examine Telemental health laws in each state:

Updated 4/27/2020: Another blog with state lines addressed during COVID-19 crisis.


Here is a link to the law the governor enacted in 2018 allowing us to practice telemental health in Iowa. And a subsequent article about this. Please keep in mind that laws and insurance regulations are separate issues and you need to explore your contract with each payer/insurance company.


Here is a an AMHCA article:

And list from the AMHCA forum of possible platforms to explore if needed:

  1. Roy Huggins & Person-Centered Tech:
  2. Simple Practice:
    1. Its electronic health system is HIPPA compliant and as stated earlier by Aaron, please read his post, about the business related documents, that makes it different than Skype, Face-time, etc. The only thing that a potential client will have to have is internet access and a valid email address. Please see site for more information as it relates to MB, internet platform that most efficient and telehealth details.
  3. for video sessions. It’s HIPPA compliant and free.


This next section is no longer relevant, but I will leave it for information after the HIPPA regulations adjust back. Click here for up to date information on HIPPA cpmpliance. Updates were posted on 3/20/2020 and 3/24/2020.

Regardless of what platform you choose, make sure that you sign a business associate agreement (BAA) document with the platform service and keep it on file.  Unfortunately, many counselors mistakenly use a platform such as Zoom, Skype, etc. the they read is HIPPA-compliant and just run with it, but they are, in fact, breaking the law because (a) the HIPPA-compliant version of the platform usually costs a lot of money, and they are relying on the free/low-cost non-HIPPA version, and (b) it’s not compliant if no BAA was signed.  AMHCA just released its new 2020 Code of Ethics, and I strongly recommend reading and understanding Section B6 before providing telehealth sessions (



Telehealth and the Corona virus (COVID-19)



“Our research team published a comprehensive guide on online therapy with the goal of helping people better understand what it is, when it can help, and what to watch out for. I want to share it with you because I believe it would be something you would be interested in. We examined the leading online therapy services based on therapist credentials and certifications, HIPAA-compliance, and video and text services offered. You can find our guide here:”


Aaron Norton, an AMHCA member has a list of resources and articles here too:


Please submit feedback or ideas for this post to I will try my best to keep it updated.

Thank you,

Courtney Ackerson, LMHC

IMHCA President