Telehealth

Telehealth

I previously did not offer Telehealth as a standard form of therapy but in light of COVID-19, I am now offering it. Moreover, I will no longer see patients in-person and will instead only offer Telehealth in light of COVID-19. Here are some answers to FAQs about how I conduct Telehealth as well as other FAQs related to COVID-19 and my practice.


What exactly is Telehealth?

In my case, I offer video sessions. These sessions are conducted at a scheduled time, just like an in-person session, but we are physically in two different locations.


How long is a video session?

The same length of time as an in-person session. For a new patient, the Initial Diagnostic Evaluation session is 90-120 minutes. For a return patient, the session is typically 45 minutes.


What is the fee for a video session?

The same fee as an in-person session. A 45-minute session is $200 and a 60-minute session is $225. Group sessions are typically $125 per session.

Will my insurance cover a video session?

I’m not in-network with any insurance companies.  You’re responsible for paying your full session fee at the time of service.  If you decide to submit claims to your insurance company for reimbursement for any out-of-network benefits you might have, you may do so and I’ll provide you a Superbill each month for this purpose. Note: you do not have to be at my office to obtain the Superbill because it can be found on your secure patient portal so you can obtain it virtually.

Insurance companies may reimburse for video sessions.  In general, insurance companies are likely to provide some reimbursement for video sessions but no reimbursement for phone sessions. In light of COVID-19, some insurance companies are modifying their plans to help provide more reimbursement.  I strongly encourage you to check with your insurance company to determine costs and coverage. 


What do I need to know when I ask my insurance company if they will reimburse video sessions?

You’ll need to know the specific procedure code I would use for the particular session.

  • In-Person Session Procedure Codes
    • 90834 for a 45-minute in-person session
    • 90791 for the initial 90-120 minute Initial Psychiatric Diagnostic Evaluation which only applies to the first in-person session with new patients
  • Video Session Procedure Codes
    • 90834 (95) for a 45-minute video session
    • 90791 (95) for the 90-120- minute Initial Psychiatric Diagnostic Evaluation which only applies to the first video session with new patients

It’s a good idea to also ask about your deductible since this might need to be met before you get any reimbursement for session fees.


What technology do we use for a video session?

I use a HIPAA-compliant platform through SimplePractice, the same practice management system company I use for the secure Patient Portal. I will be at a computer during the video session. You can use either a computer or mobile device, like an iPhone, to join me for the video session. We will have the ability to “share” our computer screens which would be useful if, for example, we needed to look at a worksheet together.  If you plan to use a mobile device, you’ll need to download the free app “Telehealth by SimplePractice” which is what you’ll be using.


How do I join a video session?

You can access your unique video appointment link 2 ways:

  1. Click on “Join Video Call” from your appointment email reminder, or
  2. Click “Join Video” in the Upcoming Appointments section in the Patient Portal.

Are there limitations for where I can be during a video session?

Yes. Many states require a psychologist to be licensed in the state you, the patient, are physically located during a Telehealth session.  I am licensed to practice in Maryland and Virginia which means I can provide you services via phone or video when you are physically located in Maryland or Virginia during that Telehealth session.

If you are hoping to have Telehealth sessions with me and you will not be in Maryland or Virginia, please contact me so I can look into the rules for your state and whether I can provide Telehealth to you there.  These rules will likely change as psychology state boards consider adaptations in response to the rising need of Telehealth in light of COVID-19.


What if I want to come into your office for sessions?

I am no longer offering in-person sessions in light of COVID-19.  I will update this page and inform current patients when I will start offering in-person sessions again.


How can I get that question answered?

If you have other questions not addressed here, you might find the answers in my Telehealth Consent Form. If your questions are still unanswered, you can feel free to email or call me. I respond within 2 business days. My email address is drscharfstein@therapyrockville.com. My phone number is (301) 245-6260.