New BBS standards for practice for telehealth

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As of January 1, 2016 the following standards of practice for telehealth will be effective for all licensees and registrants:

(a) All persons engaging in the practice of marriage and family therapy, educational psychology, clinical social work, or professional clinical counseling via telehealth, as defined in Section 2290.5 of the Code, with a client who is physically located in this State must have a valid and current license or registration issued by the Board.

(b) All psychotherapy services offered by board licensees and registrants via telehealth fall within the jurisdiction of the board just as traditional face-to-face services do.  Therefore, all psychotherapy services offered via telehealth are subject to the board’s statutes and regulations.

(c) Upon initiation of telehealth services, a licensee or registrant shall do the following:
i. Obtain informed consent from the client consistent with Section 2290.5 of the Code.
ii. Inform the client of the potential risks and limitations of receiving treatment via telehealth.
iii. Provide the client with his or her license or registration number and the type of license or registration.
iv. Document reasonable efforts made to ascertain the contact information of relevant resources, including emergency services, in the patient’s geographic area.

(d) Each time a licensee or registrant provides services via telehealth, he or she shall do the following:
i. Verbally obtain from the client and document the client’s full name and address of present location, at the beginning of each telehealth session.
ii. Assess whether the client is appropriate for telehealth, including, but not limited to, consideration of the client’s psychosocial situation.
iii. Utilize industry best practices for telehealth to ensure both client confidentiality and the security of the communication medium.

(e) A licensee or registrant of this state may provide telehealth services to clients located in another jurisdiction only if the California licensee or registrant meets the requirements to lawfully provide services in that jurisdiction, and delivery of services via telehealth is allowed by that jurisdiction.

(f) Failure to comply with these provisions shall be considered unprofessional conduct.

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