What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of electronic or telecommunication technologies to support long-distance health care. Telehealth has been around for several decades via old-fashioned telephone calls but has recently become more popular due to the introduction of smartphones and easier access to technology.
At Union Square Practice, we offer Telehealth services via online video sessions with your provider. Video sessions run on a HIPAA compliant version of Zoom. Some examples of devices that can be used for telehealth include smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop computers.
What is offered through Telehealth?
In response to COVID-19, and in order to exercise caution, USP will be offering psychotherapy and medication management via telehealth. USP will continue to offer telehealth as an option even after COVID-19 is resolved. USP will also be offering free weekly Webinars regarding issues surrounding COVID-19. Click here for more details.
Is Telehealth covered by insurance?
Insurance companies are rapidly making changes to their policies to allow coverage and reimbursement of telehealth services. It is our understanding at this time that most, if not all, private carriers are expanding their coverage of telepsychiatry and telemental health. While the particulars vary depending on the insurance provider, many have already decided such measures as waiving deductibles and reimbursing for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person sessions. Still, please check with your carrier to learn about your specific out-of-network benefits regarding telehealth.
What are the benefits of Telehealth?
The most prominent benefit of telehealth is the ability to administer clinical services through long-distance. This not only complies with the current social distancing paradigm, but also allows a provider and patient to connect to each other from anywhere (home, office, car, etc.). Another benefit is that it reduces the need to commute to a physical appointment, which in turn reduces the risk of exposure to diseases such as COVID-19.
How do I get started?
Until COVID-19 is resolved, all appointments will be via telehealth. Before your appointment, patients will receive a unique link to their provider’s waiting room that they can click to join prior to their appointment. You can use your smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer. Below are the steps to access your appointment:
- Click to the unique provider link emailed to you (this link is also available in your provider’s email signature)
- Once you click Open Zoom.us, your Zoom call should open.
- Wait for your provider to welcome you to the session.
- Make sure you give Zoom permission to access your microphone and video camera (if applicable). If you don’t have a video camera, you can have an audio session instead.
- Your provider’s waiting room link will remain the same through each subsequent appointment, so feel free to bookmark it.
How do I prepare for my telehealth appointment?
We recommend that you enter your provider’s Zoom waiting room 5 minutes in advance so that your session can start on time. In order to get the most out of your appointments, we highly recommend the following:
- Find a private space where you won’t be disturbed (separate room, car, etc.)
- Test your microphone
- Test your video
- Check for background noise/distractions and take measures to reduce them (other humans, pets, outside noise)
What is NOT appropriate for Telehealth?
Telehealth is not appropriate for emergencies. If you have an emergency, please dial 911. If you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your primary care doctor, as USP cannot test or treat for COVID-19.
What about TMS, Spravato, and other services that cannot be offered via Telehealth?
Services such as TMS, Spravato, and neurological services with Dr. Goldstein will continue on a case-by-case basis during COVID-19. Patients will be evaluated with a risk/benefit analysis and will be notified individually about their treatment plans.
I have never seen a provider at USP, are you accepting new patients during COVID-19?
Yes! We are currently accepting new patients at this time. We are still welcoming new clients and during this period of crisis and will be conducting initial sessions via Zoom. Our Clinical Coordinator will discuss the process in detail during the phone screening. With a practice-wide expertise in anxiety, PTSD, and trauma, we realize that this is a time when our experience may be particularly valuable.