Hoover & Associates is happy to announce that we now offer teletherapy.
Introduction to Teletherapy
Teletherapy is the delivery of psychotherapy services using interactive audio and visual electronic systems, when you (the patient) and the behavioral services provider are not in the same physical location. Teletherapy can be done by video-conferencing, telephone, email, or texting, but not all therapists will use all of these modalities. Talk to your therapist about what to expect.
Privacy / Confidentiality
We have carefully selected a video-conferencing platform, called Zoom, which incorporates state-of-the-art security protocols, such as encryption, to protect the confidentiality of your audio and visual data (e.g.: video-stream, contact info). You can find more information about Zoom at zoom.us. Zoom meets the legal (HIPAA) requirements for confidentiality. We also follow all other necessary record-keeping protocols, as usual, to meet HIPAA requirements.
Benefits of Teletherapy
Teletherapy improves access to care. It can enable you to be seen by a provider at your usual healthcare office when the provider is at a different location. It can enable you to be seen by a provider when you are not able to leave your home due to medical illness, mobility issues, or other unavoidable circumstance. Teletherapy also allows for more timely and/or efficient evaluation and treatment, and facilitates obtaining the expertise of a distant specialist.
As with any procedure, there are potential risks associated with the use of teletherapy. These risks include, but may not be limited to:
- In rare cases, information transmitted may not be sufficient (e.g. poor resolution of images) to allow for appropriate treatment by the provider.
- Delays in evaluation and treatment could occur due to deficiencies or failures of the equipment.
- In very rare instances, security protocols could fail, causing a breach of privacy of personal health information.
- Misunderstandings can happen even when meeting in person. But the more limited the information (e.g.: as when not meeting in person) the higher the likelihood of misunderstanding or missing some cues.
You would need a device through which to conduct teletherapy, including a screen, microphone, video-camera, and speaker. This can be done by PC, Mac, iOS, or Android; on a computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone. Larger stationary screens and high-definition cameras are recommended. You would also need to be able to access the email authorized by you for our use on the device that you will use for teletherapy, because you will get an email which contains the link which you would click in order to join the video-conference.
Scheduling a Teletherapy Session
Once you are established with a therapist, you would schedule a teletherapy session the same way that you schedule any other session, by calling or emailing your therapist, or by talking with a receptionist. Simply specify that the session you are scheduling needs to be a teletherapy session.
Joining a Meeting on Zoom
When it’s time for your teletherapy session, your therapist will send you an email with a link in it. You will be able to join the meeting by clicking the link. (Make sure that your camera, microphone and speakers are turned on.) If you experience a delay in receiving your email, or any other problem, you can call or email your therapist about it.
Fees / Insurance Coverage / Payment
Hoover & Associates’ full fees for teletherapy are as follows:
- 5-10 minutes: $35
- 11-15 minutes: $65
- 16-37 minutes: $120
- 38-52 minutes: $165
- 53+ minutes: $200
Insurance coverage for teletherapy varies. Many insurance policies do not cover teletherapy or other tele-medicine services, or only cover them in very limited circumstances. If you want to use your insurance for teletherapy, it is important to ask your insurance company ahead of time about whether they would cover teletherapy services in your case. Our billing specialist can help with this. Unless prior arrangements can be made with your insurance company for payment, you would have to pay for video-conferencing or telephone teletherapy sessions “out-of-pocket.” Hoover & Associates’ policy is that out-of-pocket services be paid either before or at the time of service. Click here for more information on payment.
Out of Pocket Payment Options
Your therapist can take a payment by getting your credit or debit card payment information during the teletherapy session. This is the same as if you were making a payment by phone.
You could also set up an automatic credit or debit card payment which Hoover & Associates would charge automatically after each session. You would have to sign a “credit or debit card automatic payment agreement” ahead of time (either in person or by mailing/emailing/faxing the form). This approach would require all the teletherapy sessions to be the same length.
If doing teletherapy by email or text, the therapist will add up time-intervals spent in correspondence over a period of time, and will bill you for the total time.
To Request Teletherapy
If you are a new patient, the first step would be to complete a screening by calling our receptionist at 708-429-6999. During the screening, please specify that you would like to request teletherapy rather than in-person therapy.
If you are an existing patient, the first step would be to talk with your therapist about incorporating teletherapy into your services, or switching to teletherapy.
If/when you decide to start teletherapy services, you will need to sign our teletherapy consent form.