I am able to provide tele-mental health services via video-conference to clients who live in the state of Illinois or are located in certain areas of the world that do not have licensed mental health providers (for Americans living and working overseas).
Some insurance plans will cover psychotherapy services delivered by tele-health. At this time, I have verified that Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and United Behavioral Health / Optum have this coverage. I am approved by Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna and United Behavioral Health (Optum) for tele-health sessions. Some EAPs also allow tele-health – check with your EAP to find out more.
(Update: Most EAPs and insurance plans and Medicare are covering tele-health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Governor of Illinois has asked insurance companies operating in Illinois to waive deductibles and copayments for tele-health sessions with in-network providers. Employers with self-insured health plans may be excluded).
I am currently utilizing the secure SimplePractice platform or Optum’s Virtual Visits site for these sessions. If we schedule a tele-health session by phone or e-mail, I will send you the link to to the session. If you have a computer with webcam, all you need to do is go to that website. For phone or tablet use, there are iOS and Android SimplePractice telehealth apps in the Google Play Sore or the App Store. The e-mail will link to those apps.
At this time, I do not have tele-health times available through the “Request Appointment” button on several pages of this site including the main page, “About the Therapists.” You will need to call me to schedule. For members using the United HealthCare / Optum “Virtual Visits” website, there may be appointments available in the schedule there. If not, please call me.
You will need a camera and microphone, either built in to your computer or added on as a USB accessory. Both of the platforms also have mobile apps for tablets and phones, which seem to work well with a good wi-fi signal (Cellular data may not work as well).
Tele-health platforms are secure, private and HIPAA-compliant. FaceTime, Skype, and other popular platforms are not HIPAA-compliant so I do not use them for tele-mental health services. (During the COVID-19 pandemic, HHS has temporarily relaxed the requirements for telehealth platforms, but I still use HIPAA-compliant platforms to ensure privacy).
I have found that tele-mental health sessions can be just as helpful as in-person sessions, when an in-person session is not possible. I have had clients who were seen solely in tele-health sessions and found that the psychotherapy process was just as effective and beneficial as it would be via in-person sessions. It is also a way to schedule a session when a client may be traveling, sick, or otherwise unable to come in to the office.
Please feel free to call me at (708) 695-8646 to discuss setting up a tele-health session.