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Using Telehealth Networks for Your Child's or Teen's Therapy: What Parents Need to Know

Using Telehealth Networks for Your Child's or Teen's Therapy: What Parents Need to Know

Along with individual providers and clinics now offering virtual or online service options for patients, a growing number of companies that focus solely on providing telemedicine have became popular. These virtual companies often provide services in more than one state and contract with providers who are licensed in the patient's state to provide the Telehealth visits. These companies may be focused on a particular need, such as mental health, and/or a specific age group, such as pediatric healthcare. However, some are multi-disciplinary and treat patients of all ages. Services are usually provided through HIPAA compliant video conferencing software, apps, phone consultations and even texting or online chats.

 

These Telemedicine companies or networks may contract with insurance companies to provide services to their patients, or they may offer discounted cash-pay rates or memberships. If contracting with an insurance company, that insurance program may stipulate that their clients only receive Telehealth services through particular Telemedicine companies, because those are the ones they contract with.  Although some exceptions were made during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of those exceptions have continued to be extended, most are not indefinite. Also, insurance companies may dictate which Telehealth platforms their clients may use.  In these cases, this may mean if a provider is not part of a client (patient) Telehealth network, the patient would not be able to use their insurance benefits for Telehealth. Therefore, it's essential that when patients are deciding to virtually connect with physical or behavioral health providers, they check with their insurance company to ensure the visits are covered by their insurance prior to the session.

 

It’s become obvious that Telehealth is here to stay.  In fact, it has become the preferred method for not only many patients, but also some providers, who have permanently closed their offices. Along with medical virtual visits, mental health and behavioral health visits are increasing and beginning to surpass other types of Telehealth claims. In September 2022, mental health conditions made up more than 61% of Telehealth claims according to FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker. However, these changes are not without some challenges, leading to some patients/clients continuing to see their providers in person.  

 

In addition to the pro’s and con’s of Teletherapy, some additional considerations for Telehealth networks are: 

 

  • Client may not be able to see same provider each visit for ongoing needs
  • Some networks may only provide specific services or limit the age group they work with, such as 10 and up.

 

Summary

 

Virtual access to providers can be a great resource for families in many cases. However, it also comes with it's unique challenges.  Families have to weight the benefits against their preferences and challenges to determine what is best for their child.

 

Get started

 

Search for a provider offering virtual services in our directory listings .

 

Wondering how to prepare yourself and your child/teen for Telehealth or Telemedicine visits?  Check out our tips.  You can find them all here.

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