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Telehealth for Mental Health: Overcoming the Barriers

Posted by Ben Waxman and Stephanie DeFazio on Jun 12, 2020 11:15:00 AM

Providing mental health services via telehealth has presented barriers. Some of those barriers we are now suddenly finding were false all along.

Today, we take a look at insurance coverage and other issues of access that have made it a challenge for some to receive the support they need through telehealth.

The goal: recognize and resolve those barriers so that care is not delayed for those who need it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the issue and pushed so many of us to get online for interactions we historically have had in person. The demand for telehealth has increased resulting in temporary measures put in place by the the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) making insurance coverage more readily available for telehealth (video and audio) appointments, including coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

As insurance coverage has become more available, the spotlight has focused on the digital divide. In a recent fact sheet on low-income access to telehealth released by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS, more than 1 in 6 low-income persons have no internet access, and those living in non-metropolitan areas have less access to the Internet than those in metropolitan areas.

Large bureaucratic assessments and policies are one thing. We wanted to know what it is like on the ground. So, we spoke with a few of our industry experts.

Read on to find out what we learned from them about barriers to care and how services are being delivered effectively…or not.

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Topics: Healthcare, Telehealth, Mental Health, insurance barriers, digital divide, healthcare communications, access to healthcare

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