The Bluegrass State is a marvelous place to hike the Appalachian trail, watch horse racing, and practice telepsychiatry! Telepsych is an innovative practice that allows health systems to bring quality mental health care services to the rural and underserved areas of Kentucky.
Telepsychiatry is commonly recognized and applied among medical professionals throughout Kentucky. The rules and regulations regarding the practice of telehealth in the state are fairly permissive. The Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (MATRC) is the regional group that supports the use of telemedicine in Kentucky. Iris is proud to be a member of MATRC, and they have been a vital partner in bringing telepsychiatry care to Kentucky.
Based on our research, Iris gives Kentucky an A rating for being a great state for providing telepsych services. You go, Kentucky!
THE RACE TO UNDERSTANDING KENTUCKY MENTAL HEALTH
According to a study done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an annual average of about 38,000 adolescents aged 12-17 experience a major depressive episode. That’s 11 percent of the population of youth in Kentucky. Furthermore, nearly 60 percent of those 38,000 young people did not receive treatment for their depression.
An annual average of 155,000 adults have serious thoughts of suicide. Additionally, 169,000 adults had a serious mental illness, but more than half of them did not receive appropriate care.
Here’s a chilling statistic – in Kentucky, there are only 9.36 child and adolescent psychiatrists for every 100,000 children, putting the state in a severe shortage of psychiatrists. In total, there are only 95 child psychiatrists in the state.
It’s evident there is a large need for mental health services throughout the state. That’s where telepsych can help.
IMPLEMENTATION OF KENTUCKY TELEPSYCHIATRY
Implementing telepsych in Kentucky is relatively easy to do with the correct knowledge and guidance. There are no specific restrictions related to technology requirements outside of abiding by HIPAA regulations. Providers must be licensed in Kentucky, although if some nonresidents of Kentucky engage in medical practices with patients located in the state, they must do so in association with a Kentucky-licensed physician. There are several successfully telepsychiatry programs throughout the state of Kentucky that can serve as excellent examples for health systems looking to implement their own telehealth program.
RULES & REGULATIONS FOR KENTUCKY TELEMED
Before implementing a telepsychiatry program, it’s essential to fully understand telehealth rules and regulations in Kentucky.
Under Kentucky legislation, telehealth means “the use of interactive audio, video, or other electronic media to deliver healthcare” including “the use of electronic media for diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of health or medical data, and continuing education.” A proper physician-patient relationship must be established prior to prescribing medication. This must include:
Verification that the person requesting medication is in fact who the patient claims to be
Establishment of a documented diagnosis through the use of accepted medical practices
Maintenance of current medical record
If you have any additional questions regarding the rules and regulations for telepsychiatry in Kentucky, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information.
TELEMEDICINE REIMBURSEMENT IN KENTUCKY
Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine in Kentucky is available according to certain requirements. Medicaid requires that “the originating site is the location of the eligible Kentucky Medicaid recipient at the time the telehealth service is being furnish through an interactive telehealth communication system. The distant or hub site is the location of the provider and is considered the place of service.” Audio and video communication technology must be used.
Telehealth services are covered the same as face-to-face services. Providers are required to be approved through the Kentucky e-Health Network Board and must be an approved member of the Kentucky Telehealth Network. Coverage is limited to the following services:
Mental health evaluation and management services
Individual group psychotherapy
Psychiatric/psychological/mental health diagnostic interview examinations
Individual medical nutrition services
In a Community Mental Health Center, eligible providers are:
A licensed marriage and family therapist
A licensed professional clinical counselor
A psychiatric medical resident
A psychiatric registered nurse
A licensed clinical social worker
An advanced registered nurse practitioner
IRIS IN KENTUCKY
Iris Telehealth believes Kentucky is a great state to work and play! We are currently providing telepsychiatry services throughout the state, particularly in hospitals and community mental health centers. We hope to continue bringing quality mental health services to other health systems in Kentucky. We look forward to growing our current partnerships in Kentucky and making new friends along the way!