Telepsychiatry Services in Rhode Island
With a population just over 1 million, Rhode Island by all appearances and ratings, is far ahead in mental health care in comparison to other states throughout the country. However, this does not mean that barriers to care do not exist. In a 2020 parity report published by the Mental health Association of Rhode Island, one of the biggest barriers to mental health care is access to care and how time-consuming and difficult it can be to receive care. At innovaTel, we believe that telepsychiatry is the answer to increasing timely access to care. Telepsychiatry can be seamlessly incorporated at existing care centers to increase clinical capacity with minimal disruption. By expanding access to care through telepsychiatry, Rhode Island can continue to work towards its goals for mental health care parity.
Mental Health Statistics for Rhode Island
Mental Health America ranks 4th overall for a high level of access to care and a lower prevalence of mental illness. Due to its size and minimal rural areas, citizens of Rhode Island are likely within a reasonable distance to a mental health care center. However, this does not mean that patients are not in need of greater access to care. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report for 2017-2018, 21% of adults reported any kind of mental illness in the past year, and in the case of mild and moderate mental illness 50% of those groups did not receive care.
Although Rhode Island’s Mental Health America ranking is impressive, there appears to still be an opportunity to improve access to care for the individuals part of the group who did not receive care. Although there are several reasons why a person may not have access to or may not seek out care, one of the best ways to encourage those in need to receive care is to reduce as many barriers to treatment as possible. Rhode Island lawmakers have taken a massive step in the right direction by passing a bill requiring insurers to permanently cover telehealth services beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rhode Island State Laws & Regulations
Understanding how to operate within your state’s laws and regulations for Medicaid and private insurance reimbursement as well as understanding any parity laws that may exist are important aspects of establishing a successful telepsychiatry program at your facility.
Increasing the Reach of Specialized Clinicians
Rhode Island Medicaid’s fee schedule lists several telehealth service CPT codes for reimbursement related to follow-up and inpatient telehealth consultations under procedure/professional services which include codes for psychiatric diagnostic evaluation and psychotherapy services.
Rhode Island Private Payer & Parity Laws
Per Rhode Island law, Health insurers that provide coverage for in-person services must provide coverage for telemedicine services. The law states that a health insurer cannot exclude a service for coverage solely because the health-care service is provided via telemedicine. As long as the service is deemed medically necessary, the service should be covered but subject to terms of the insurance agreement.
Benefits of Telepsychiatry
The use of telepsychiatry has benefitted communities across the United States by making mental health care more accessible through sustainably growing clinical teams; as well as increasing the talent pool to choose from by removing the barrier of distance.
Bring in Additional Resources
Bringing in additional resources can be a long and costly process when your care facility is limited to only clinicians practicing in-person. With telepsychiatry, the pool of talent is larger and clinicians can work from their location of choice while helping communities in need. In cases that require a clinician with a sub-specialty, care centers can bring in a specialized clinician much faster via telepsychiatry rather than waiting to find an available local clinician.
Access to a Larger Talent Pool
Recruitment can be a pain-point for any organization; however, in an industry that is experiencing a shortage of clinicians nation-wide, this is even more difficult. Mental health centers across the country struggle to recruit from their immediate areas due to the small pool of available clinicians often already being utilized. With telepsychiatry, care centers have access to clinicians from all over the country which provides the opportunity to choose the clinician based on qualifications, not proximity.
Implementing Telepsychiatry in Rhode Island
At innovaTel Telepsychiatry, we are clinician owned and operated which is why we understand what you need from a telepsychiatry partner when establishing your own program. We offer a comprehensive onboarding and implementation process to all of our partners, helping your facility to feel confident and informed throughout the process.
innovaTel handles recruitment for you, saving you time and money. You are then only presented with top-notch, qualified clinicians to choose from. Once you have chosen a clinician, they become an active part of your clinical team just like one would if they were there in-person.
Rhode Island Telepsychiatry Services from innovaTel
If your Rhode Island facility is ready to increase access to care in your community by launching a telepsychiatry program, we encourage you to set up an introductory call today with one of our telepsychiatry experts. In the meantime, to learn more about innovaTel and our service model, please check out our services page.
- “Adults Reporting Mental Illness in the Past Year.” KFF
- “Current State Laws & Reimbursement Policies.”
- Gammans, Bay. “RI Lawmakers OK Bill Requiring Insurers Permanently Cover Telehealth Services.” WPRI.Com
- “Overall Ranking.” Mental Health America
- Parity Report – Mental Health Association of Rhode Island
- Rhode Island Title 27 Insurance Laws