In the wake of the novel coronavirus, more people are utilizing telemedicine and telehealth services to treat physical and mental health symptoms. Telehealth services date back to the 1960s but have grown exponentially in recent years due to advances in technology. And now, as we’re faced with a worldwide pandemic, telehealth services are more important than ever.
At Compassion Behavioral Health, we remain committed to serving our clients, past and present, as well as the addiction treatment community as a whole. Due to how contagious Covid-19 is, we encourage our clients to utilize telehealth services for their mental health and substance abuse issues. Many people are unaware that they can receive this type of treatment through a virtual appointment.
If you’re not exactly sure how telehealth services work, that’s okay. We’ll cover these services in more detail and how they can benefit your recovery.
How Do Telehealth Services Work?
Telehealth and telemedicine are terms used to describe the transfer and exchange of medical information between different sites. Examples include still images, patient portals, videoconferencing, medical education, monitoring of vital signs and more. With technological advances, sharing this information is faster and easier than ever before.
As a result, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) allow doctors to bill for their time talking to patients. Here are the reasons why even the insurance companies stand behind telehealth services:
- Improved patient care. With telehealth, patients can receive quality care from the comfort of their home. This is especially important for people who have poor mental or physical health or limited transportation.
- Reach more patients. Telehealth can be used to reach people in rural areas. These individuals often have a harder time accessing high quality mental health and substance abuse treatment.
- Increased efficiency in hospitals. With the ability to schedule appointments from home, this keeps more people out of the ERs and doctor’s offices. This decreases the spread of viruses like Covid-19, as well as speeds up efficiency in medical practices.
- Decreased patient costs. Not only can patients receive personalized care from a telehealth visit, but also they save on transportation, childcare, parking, time off work and more. This is a huge help to people who are already in distress.
Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg on the benefits, but it gives you an idea of why telehealth is a growing industry supported by medical professionals and public officials.
Telehealth Services Expand to Substance Abuse Treatment
Currently, we are facing a global crisis, one that many people did not think they would see in their lifetimes. With Covid-19 quickly spreading through the U.S., doctors and nurses are feeling the pressure.
Both hospitals and public officials are urging patients with symptoms of Covid-19 to avoid emergency rooms unless they are in respiratory distress. Instead, they are encouraged to use online telehealth services to discuss their symptoms and potential treatment options.
But it’s not just Covid-19 patients that telehealth is helping. Many doctors and mental health professionals are limiting their hours and streamlining their services. They are doing this to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While this is a smart and necessary decision, it has left many of our patients worried about ongoing substance abuse or mental health issues.
What to Expect from a Telehealth Visit?
Thankfully, telehealth services are comprehensive and include substance abuse and mental health treatment. This means that you can have a virtual appointment with a qualified addiction treatment professional or licensed therapist. Because of the nature of substance use and mental health disorders, we recommend video conferencing appointments that allow you to see our staff Psychiatrist and Licensed Therapist for individual and group therapy sessions.
Here is what you can expect:
- Review of your psychological and medical history
- Careful observation of your mental status and physical appearance
- Assessment of your symptoms
- Individual and Group therapy sessions
While doctors and mental health professionals are more limited in a telehealth visit, most diagnoses are made through careful observation and patient history. Plus, for people who just need to know that someone is there, a virtual appointment in itself is often enough to reduce anxiety.
Does Insurance Cover a Telehealth Appointment?
Generally speaking, yes, your telehealth appointment should be covered. President Donald Trump authorized an expansion of Medicare that would cover telehealth, allowing people to access care without leaving their homes. Furthermore, most private insurances cover these services as well.
The only thing you may have to cover is your normal copay. If you don’t have insurance, you can look into telemedicine apps like GoodRX, Amwell and PlusCare for low-cost doctor visits. If you’re not sure what telehealth service is best for your needs, contact your insurance company or Compassion Behavioral Health.
Are Virtual Therapy Visits Worth It?
When people think of telehealth, they usually assume it’s a one-and-done appointment. It can be, but there are complete therapeutic programs online as well. You can sign up and receive several weeks of continued individual and group therapy sessions. These programs are run by licensed therapists who listen to your struggles, provide valuable feedback and work with you on reaching various goals.
The benefits to virtual therapy sessions include:
- Stay in your safe environment
- Save time and money
- Gain access to qualified, licensed therapists
- Select the best time based on your schedule
Compassion Behavioral Health Now Offering Virtual Therapy Visits
Compassion Behavioral Health remains open during the Covid-19 outbreak, as we are an essential healthcare service. However, we are taking extra steps to ensure the health and safety of our clients and staff. As part of these changes, we have implemented some individual and group counseling sessions online. We are still offering all the benefits of PHP, IOP, and Outpatient Services but via Telehealth video conferencing. We feel this is best for everyone, as it limits the number of people in our rehab facility while still ensuring our clients receive the best possible care.
If you have questions or concerns about these virtual visits or scheduling a session, please contact us today. In the meantime, be sure to explore your options for telehealth and stay connected to your support circle through technology. We’re in this fight together. Stay safe and healthy.