The TeleMental Health Package
Contains multiple forms necessary to ensure HIPAA compliance and ethical TeleMental Health practices
Most states are defining TeleMental Health to include clinical services rendered via any kind of technology. This includes a therapeutic conversation over the phone. If you ever speak to a client regarding a crisis between sessions or have a client check in regarding a homework assignment via phone or technology, you are practicing TeleMental Health. Additionally, texting, emailing, electronic storage of protected health information (PHI) on a computer or in the cloud, having a Social Media presence, etc., are all aspects of TeleMental Health. The TeleMental Health Informed Consent is now required ethically for all licenses - it is addressed in either the therapist's primary ethics code or a supplementary ethical guideline related to TeleMental Health. This applies to Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage & Family Therapists. Additionally, some states (such as Georgia) now require the TeleMental Health Informed Consent legally - it's part of the licensing board's regulations. Dr. Beaton's form encompasses the requirements for every therapist's ethical code or guideline. She addresses the use of telephones, texting, emailing, video conferencing, social media, online searches, blogs, website portals, electronic chat forums, faxing, app recommendations, computer storage of PHI, online storage of PHI, transfer of PHI for billing purposes, and even recommending apps and websites. Additionally, she incorporated the ethical (and, in some states, legal) requirement to discuss risks associated with TeleMental Health, emergency procedures, client responsibilities, confidentiality, and much more. In addition to the TeleMental Health Informed Consent, this package includes a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA). If anyone else in your practice (e.g., an administrative assistant or another therapist sharing your office) or outside of your practice (e.g., billing company, accountant or bookkeeper, electronic health record storage company, software company that facilitates encrypted email, etc.) has access to client PHI, HIPAA requires you to have this entity sign this agreement. Finally, the package includes a Client Assessment for Fit to determine if a client is appropriate for TeleMental Health. These forms are well worth the investment to protect your practice and be sure that you are abiding by the ethical and legal guidelines of your profession. This package consists of three documents: 1) A TeleMental Health Informed Consent for individual practice; 2) A TeleMental Health Informed Consent for a group practice; and 3) The HIPAA Business Associate Agreement. There are also several options for each category depending upon how you are using technology (or not using it). Each form is designed in Microsoft Word format (.doc) so that you may edit them as you see appropriate. Every place in a document where you need to enter information particular to your practice (e.g., your name, location, fees, etc.) will be in a bright blue font to prompt you for this information. Generally, the margins come through intact. However, just in case, there is a separate document called "Margins" which lists the specifications. By purchasing and downloading these forms, you understand and accept that the forms are intended to be used only as examples or samples of ways in which the forms and information can be used. You understand and accept that you are ultimately responsible for your own version of the forms and for adapting the forms for your own use. Neither Dr. Becky Beaton nor Dr. Becky Beaton, LLC assume any liability or responsibility for the use or misuse of the forms you download. All of Dr. Beaton's forms are copyrighted. You understand and accept that unauthorized duplication or sharing of the forms you download or any information contained therein is strictly prohibited and illegal. Thank you very much for your cooperation. Additionally, please note that you have 30 days to upload the forms that will be transmitted to you, so please add them to your documents in a timely fashion. Thank you!
Dr. Becky Beaton is the author of Practice Smart Forms, and she is passionate about psychological ethics and helping therapists grow their practices grounded in ethics and integrity while also creating a personally and professionally fulfilling career. Dr. Beaton began creating these forms when she founded The Anxiety & Stress Management Institute, a very large outpatient facility in Atlanta, Georgia, which she clinically directed for 15 years. She realized quickly that managing therapists required creating documentation that was ethically and legally sound while also being as efficient as possible to ensure compliance. Her staff grew to love these forms as well has hundreds of other clinicians who rave about them in the Atlanta area and around the country. Several hospitals and university counseling centers have also adopted them.
Dr. Beaton's is a Licensed Psychologist and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has been on the Georgia Psychological Association's (GPA) Ethics Committee since 2010 and Ethics Chair for GPA since 2014. Additionally, she was the Ethics Chair for the Licensed Professional Counselor's Association of Georgia (LPCA-GA) for two years and has taught numerous ethics workshops since 1999.
Related to her interest in ethics and documentation, Dr. Beaton has served as an ethics expert in malpractice lawsuits. Part of her role in these cases is to examine the clinician's documentation to determine if the therapist was practicing below the standard of care and/or committing any ethical violations. This experience has made Dr. Beaton extremely aware and diligent about designing these forms to help the therapist write them in such a way that they will hold up in court. Of course, there are no guarantees in court; however, this is a great place to start! We hope you find them to be helpful.