Washington Telepsychiatry Services

The state of Washington, just like many other states across the country, is experiencing a shortage of mental health clinicians. While action has been taken to incentivize entering the behavioral health field, this, unfortunately, is not enough to meet patient demand. This is why the facilities have adopted the use of telepsychiatry to bridge gaps in care.

Telepsychiatry is the process of providing mental health care remotely through HIPAA-compliant video conferencing technology. Treatment via telepsychiatry can involve a range of services such as psychiatric evaluations, counseling, medication management, and consultation services just to name a few.

Telepsychiatry is equivalent to in-person care in diagnostic accuracy, effectiveness, quality of care and patient satisfaction and is used in a variety of settings; making it a viable solution for your Washington mental health care facility.

Mental Health Statistics for Washington

According to Mental Health America, the state of Washington ranks 45 overall for the prevalence of mental illness. Mental Health America uses a scale of 15 measures to rank the states for the general prevalence of mental health conditions and access to care. The state of Washington’s ranking of 45 indicates a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care.

To put this ranking in perspective, according to data collected by the American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry, in Washington there are only 10 CAPs (child and adolescent psychiatric services) per 100,000 children below the age of 18. With such discrepancy between the number of individuals that are in need of care versus the number of services/clinicians available, wait times will be higher and many will go without treatment.

Washington Telepsychiatry Laws and Regulations

Each state has its own laws and regulations when it comes to the use of telemedicine. Understanding the finer points of these laws and regulations can be difficult which is why a partner like innovaTel is key when implementing a successful telepsychiatry program.

In general, telepsychiatry is widely accepted and utilized throughout the state of Washington. According to the Center for Connected Health Policy, Washington Medicaid (Apple Health) reimburses for live video, store-and-forward, and remote patient monitoring under specific circumstances.

  • The patient must be present and participating in the telemedicine visit. Clients under the Family Planning, TAKE CHARGE, First Steps, and School-Based Health Care Service programs in Washington are eligible for telemedicine through fee-for-service.
  • Live video treatment is covered for patients with fee-for-service coverage when it is medically necessary, which must be determined and documented by the referring provider.

Site Eligibility for Medicaid in Washington

In order to be eligible to be reimbursed by Medicaid in Washington, the patient must be located in designated medical facilities, federal and community health centers, rural health clinics; or unlike some states, the patient can receive care at home or “any location determined appropriate by the individual receiving the service” according to The Center for Connected Health Policy.

Parity Laws in Washington

In order for telepsychiatry services to be covered by insurance in the state of Washington, the services must be considered an “essential health benefit” under the Affordable Care Act. Insurers (including private payer health plans and Medicaid Managed Care) must reimburse a provider for services delivered through telemedicine or store-and-forward if:

  • The plan provides coverage when provided in-person
  • The service is medically necessary
  • The service is recognized as an essential health benefit under section 1302(b) of the federal patient protection and affordable care act (ACA)
  • The service is determined to be safely and effectively provided through telemedicine technology according to generally accepted health care practices and standards, and the technology used to provide the health care service meets the standards required by state and federal HIPAA compliance laws.

For the most up to date information on Washington telemedicine policies, please check out the CCHCP website.

Benefits of Telepsychiatry

The use of telepsychiatry has been proven effective in closing gaps in care. While there are numerous benefits to this modality of care, location, and collaboration are two benefits that particularly benefit the state of Washington.

Free of Location Barriers

In a state like Washington with such a shortage of mental health care clinicians, breaking down the barrier of location can make a significant impact on the gap in care. The ability to practice psychiatry from anywhere is a major reason we have been able to increase the reach of specialized and experienced psychiatrists that may otherwise be out of reach for many rural communities in Washington.

Collaboration & Integrated Care

Many patients in primary care require further care or treatment for mental health conditions but may not have easy access to a psychiatrist. When we partner with primary care facilities, physicians and psychiatrists are able to work collaboratively to create a comprehensive treatment plan for patients that need further expertise to address their symptoms. This collaboration through integrated care is particularly helpful for patients in Washington on managed Medicaid plans that require telemedicine services to be coordinated by their primary care physician.

Implementing Telepsychiatry in Washington

We want your facility to feel confident in establishing a successful telepsychiatry program, which is why we offer a comprehensive onboarding and implementation process to all of our partners. Our telepsychiatry experts understand the challenges that Washington clinics face, which is why we take the time necessary to provide onboarding and continued support throughout the duration of your contract.

Washington Telepsychiatry Services from innovaTel

If you’re interested in learning more about telepsychiatry and how you or your treatment facility can be a part of the solution in closing Washington’s gaps in care, we encourage you to contact one of our experts today.

To learn more about the services we provide in Washington and how an innovaTel partnership can benefit your facility, contact us at info@innovaTel.com.


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