Epstein Becker Green’s 2022 Telemental Health Laws survey of state telehealth laws, regulations, and policies within the mental/behavioral health practice disciplines (and corresponding app available for iPhoneiPad, and Android devices), was featured in mHealth Intelligence, in “States Continue to Expand Regulations to Support Access to Telemental Health,” by Mark Melchionna. Amy Lerman, co-author of the survey, discusses this year’s findings. For more information, please read the Telemental Health Laws executive summary.

Following is an excerpt:

A 2022 report from law firm Epstein Becker Green (EBG) shows that an increase in the global prevalence of anxiety and depression is accompanied by requests for more mental health assistance, ultimately leading to states sustaining and widening regulatory flexibilities to expand telehealth services.

EBG, a national law firm, has released its Telemental Health Laws report annually since 2016. It covers the evolution of telemental healthcare and the actions telehealth providers need to take to comply with regulations.

In the 2022 update to the report, EBG highlighted an increase in regulatory flexibilities, leading to a spike in telehealth use for mental and behavioral healthcare. …

In 2022, there was a 25 percent increase in the global prevalence of anxiety and depression, which led the Biden administration to direct more attention and investments toward access to mental health services, the press release noted. This included the $1.5 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, which expanded Medicare coverage of telemedicine practices.

“As legislators began to address regulations heavily impacted by COVID-19, the United States also faced the demand for more accessible mental health services,” said Amy Lerman, a member of the firm in EBG’s Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the press release. “The heightened importance of telemental health services calls for more flexibility and expanded access. That call was answered in 2022, and now the industry must ensure that services maintain quality and compliance for real change to occur.”

The report detailed how telemental health services became more accessible across states in 2022. States broadened telemental health coverage under state Medicaid programs, joined interstate professional licensure compacts, and expanded requirements for remote prescribing.

"Generally and gradually, most states have allowed licensed physicians to prescribe non-controlled substances via telehealth and, over time, states have adjusted their guidance to permit physicians to prescribe remotely without requiring that the physician conduct a prior in-person examination, allowing instead for the necessary examination to occur via telehealth," the report states.

Related reading:

HIT Consultant, "2022 Telemental Health Regulations Unlock Access and Evolve Compliance with Practices," by Syed Hamza Sohail.

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