The Sunshine State is a lovely place to enjoy warm weather and telepsychiatry throughout the entire year! Telepsychiatry is a practice that brings quality mental healthcare services to rural and underserved areas of Florida. In turn, telepsych services can improve the overall mental health of the state.
Telepsychiatry is commonly used among medical professionals throughout Florida. Legislation concerning telemedicine in Florida is fairly permissive. The Southeastern Telehealth Resource Center (SETRC) is the regional group that plays a vital role in supporting the utilization of telemedicine in Florida. Iris Telehealth is a proud member of SETRC. They have been a valuable partner in providing telepsych care throughout the state.
Based on our research, Iris gives Florida an A rating for being an awesome state for providing telepsych services. You rock, Florida!
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
In Florida, 660,000 adults and 180,000 children live with a serious mental illness. Nearly half of the population will struggle with less serious forms of mental health issues in their life. According to some studies, Florida ranks last among all states for providing mental health programs for its residents.
Studies show that one in four people has a mental health issue every year, and half of them don’t receive the treatment they need. Based on those statistics, more than five million Floridians will experience a mental health issue this year – and nearly three million won’t get the care they desperately need. By some estimates, the lack of mental health services could be even worse. In an article in the Orlando Sentinel, a Florida mental health expert said she believes more than 70 percent of the people who need treatment in the state can’t get it.
The national shortage of psychiatrists is evident almost everywhere, and Florida is no exception. There are a total of 374 child and adolescent psychiatrists (CAPS) in the state of Florida. There are only 9 CAPs per 100,000 children in the state, putting Florida in a severe shortage of psychiatrists. Most children who need access to mental healthcare can’t get it because of these staggering numbers. That’s where telepsychiatry can help.
RULES & REGULATIONS FOR TELEMED IN FLORIDA
It’s vital to understand legislation surrounding telemedicine implementation and practices in order to successfully get your program off the ground. In Florida, telemedicine means “the practice of medicine by a licensed Florida physician or physician assistant where patient care, treatment, or services are provided through the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications.”
Florida does have restrictions regarding the practice of telemedicine through only telephone, email messages, text messages, facsimile transmission, U.S. Mail or other parcel service or a combination of them. The state requires that a physician-patient relationship may be established through telemedicine.
Controlled substances can be prescribed through telemedicine only for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Prescribing medication solely on the basis of an electronic medical questionnaire is not allowed. A patient evaluation is required prior to e-prescribing, including a history and physical examination done by the physician or physician assistant.
IMPLEMENTATION OF FLORIDA TELEPSYCHIATRY
It’s fairly easy to implement a telepsychiatry program in Florida so long as you have the proper knowledge and guidance. There are no specific restrictions related to technology requirements outside of abiding by HIPAA regulations. There are many successful telepsychiatry programs in Florida that serve as excellent models to help health care systems looking to implement telemedicine move forward with confidence. If you have any questions about the implementation of telepsychiatry services in Florida, feel free to contact us.
TELEMEDICINE REIMBURSEMENT IN FLORIDA
Florida Medicaid reimburses for real time interactive medicine. Some telemed services are reimbursed in the Community Behavioral Health services. Florida established a Telehealth Advisory Council for the purpose of making recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature about telehealth.
IRIS IN FLORIDA
Iris Telehealth believes that Florida is a great state to work, live and play! We are so excited to see Florida begin adopting regulations that allow for more behavioral healthcare access to its residents and would like to thank all the advocates who helped champion this effort. We are currently providing services throughout Florida, including outpatient work with private clinics and inpatient residential facilities. We are partnered with some of the largest treatment centers in the state to help them meet their client’s mental health needs. In addition, we are providing specialty services in multiple settings including substance abuse clinics and elderly care facilities. Iris looks forward to continuing to grow our relationships with our current partners in Florida as well as making some new friends along the way!