The Grand Canyon State is a beautiful state to live, explore, and practice telepsychiatry! Telepsychiatry allows rural and under-served areas of Arizona to have access to quality mental health care, which can truly impact the mental health of the state.
This practice is widely accepted and utilized throughout Arizona. The rules and regulations concerning telemedicine in Arizona are generally permissive. The University of Arizona is a leader in telemedicine and has been one of the great pioneers of the field. The Arizona Telemedicine Program is a wonderful asset to helping telemedicine be successfully implemented throughout the state of Arizona. The Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC) is the regional group that helps support the utilization of telemedicine in Arizona. Iris is a proud member of SWTRC and they have been a great partner to have in providing telepsychiatry care throughout the state.
Based on our research, Iris gives Arizona an A-rating for being an excellent state for utilizing telepsychiatry services. Great job, Arizona!
THE STATE OF MENTAL HEALTH:
One in five Arizonans will experience a mental health concern at some point this year – that means nearly 1.5 million people will need medical attention for their mental health. In Arizona, 83.3 percent of the youth population in need receives insufficient treatment for depression. Many hospitals, mental health centers, and other healthcare offices are struggling to provide enough quality care to patients seeking mental health help.
There is a severe shortage of psychiatrists nationwide, and Arizona is no exception to that. For every 100,000 children in Arizona, there are only 9 psychiatrists. In rural areas that lack easy access to quality healthcare, this shortage is even more pronounced. Because of this, many who need mental healthcare don’t get it. That’s where we come in.
IMPLEMENTATION OF ARIZONA TELEPSYCHIATRY
Implementing a telepsychiatry program in Arizona is easy to do with the right knowledge and guidance. There are no specific restrictions related to technology requirements outside of abiding by HIPAA regulations. Arizona also enacted the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which offers a voluntary expedited way to license qualified physicians who want to practice in multiple states. There are many successful telepsychiatry programs in Arizona that serve as excellent models to help health care systems looking to implement telemedicine programs move forward with confidence.
RULES & REGULATIONS FOR ARIZONA TELEMED
It’s critical to know the telepsychiatry regulations in Arizona prior to establishing a telemedicine program at your organization. It is important that each clinician understands the rules that are specific and unique to Arizona for the delivery of mental health care.
Arizona law views an assessment over telemedicine equivalent to an in-person examination so long as the same standards of care are met. In Arizona, telemedicine means practicing health care delivery, diagnosis, consultation and treatment and the transfer of medical data through interactive audio, video or other communications.
In Arizona, specific conditions are required to be covered by private payers when treating the following conditions in a rural region:
Mental health disorders
Neurologic diseases including strokes
A rural region is defined as:
An area that is located in a county with a population of less than 900,000
A city or town that is located in a county with a population of 900,000 or more and whose nearest boundary is more than 30 miles from the boundary of a city that has a population of 500,000 or more
It’s essential that providers obtain and document either oral or written consent before delivery of services. Oral consent should be documented on the patient’s medical record.
If you have any additional questions regarding the rules and regulations for telepsychiatry in Arizona, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information.
TELEMED REIMBURSEMENT IN ARIZONA
Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine in Arizona is available for many services, and in particular for the typical services offered in a mental health setting. These include diagnostic consultation and evaluation.
These services are reimbursed equivalently to a standard in-person session. Medicaid allows for the patient’s primary care providers, attending physician or another medical professional familiar with the patient’s condition to be present. It also reimburses services from registered nurses; licensed practical nurses; clinical nurse specialists; registered nurse midwives; registered nurse practitioners; physician assistants; physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapists; and trained telepresenter familiar with the patient’s medical condition.
Arizona’s parity law requires private payers to provide coverage when the originating site – or where the patient is located – is in a rural area. Specifically, it’s an area or city with a population of less than 900,000 people. Medicaid requires that the provider delivers telemedicine from one of the following:
Tribally-governed 638 facility
Urban clinic for American Indians
Physician or other provider office
Federally qualified health center
IRIS IN ARIZONA
Iris Telehealth believes that Arizona is a great state to continue practicing telepsychiatry – and that’s why we are focusing on growing our partnerships in Arizona this year! We are currently providing services throughout Arizona, including outpatient services for multiple clinics and tribal communities. We have relationships with several RBHA’s in the state and look forward to continuing to work with them to help provide the best care possible to Arizonans. In addition, we are beginning to work with a large hospital group in the state and are excited to see this relationship flourish. If you are a consumer or advocate and want access to mental health care services to become more available for your community in Arizona, we’d like to hear your voice. Iris looks forward to continuing to grow our relationships with our current partners in Arizona as well as making some new friends along the way!