Amy Lerman Quoted in “The Continued Growth of Telemental Health”

Social Work Today

Amy Lerman, Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in Social Work Today, in “The Continued Growth of Telemental Health,” by Sue Coyle.

Following is an excerpt:

One of those challenges is licensure. Licensed social workers typically gain licensure in a specific state.

“States want to have control over how and when and why they issue licenses to different types of health care professionals,” explains Amy Lerman, JD, MPH, member of the firm Epstein, Becker & Green. A health regulatory attorney, Lerman and her team focus on helping varying practitioners prepare for and deliver health care services via telehealth. “With increased utilization of telehealth technologies, you've got this notion of multistate practice, and people went crazy [thinking about how the technology could completely changed the way they practiced].”

“I can totally make a Skype call!” she remembers hearing from some of her clients, noting that the technology was well ahead of states’ preparation from a regulatory standpoint.

“Typically, state licensure boards are very concerned about where the patient is located. They’ve been extremely progressive with telemedicine, but if you’re going to talk to [their residents], you need a license,” she says. Lerman notes that most states have been working to address the related regulatory concerns and that significant changes already have occurred between 2015 and 2017…

Again, states are taking steps to alleviate these barriers. “Many states have enacted parity laws in which states have communicated to commercial insurances companies, if they are going to cover certain services if they are provided in person, they should be covering those services in a comparable manner if they are provided via telemedicine,” Lerman says. Again, Alaska provides an example. In 2016, the governor signed HB 234 into law, which requires insurance companies to treat TMH services like in-person mental health services. The law does not address other areas of telemedicine.