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I. What are the licensure requirements in Illinois for telehealth mental health care?

Illinois licensure requirements do not directly address telehealth counseling, and there are no specific rules or laws that apply only to telehealth mental health care. All the rules that concern telehealth in Illinois also relate to telemental health care services. Licensed clinicians need to follow the same procedures they use for an in-person visit.

Requirements for out-of-state treatment

Illinois has been a member of the Interstate Licensure Medical Compact since 2015. This compact governs how physicians can easily apply for a license in another state to practice telemedicine. Under the compact, licensed physicians can apply to the Illinois Medical Licensing Board and receive a license to practice telemedicine in the state. The state is a member of the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact.

Emergency licensure

Illinois protects its residents with proactive allowances during state-wide and national health emergencies. Under an executive order issued by Illinois’s governor in 2020, an out-of-state physician who doesn’t have a license in Illinois may practice telehealth medicine in Illinois if they have a previously established provider/patient relationship without the need to obtain further licensure. Per this executive order, telehealth includes psychiatry, mental health treatment, substance abuse disorder treatment, and all health care services. Telehealth visits may be conducted using any electronic or telephonic method.

II. What are the online prescribing regulations in Illinois?

There are no specific regulations or laws about prescribing medication via telemedicine in Illinois. Your provider can prescribe any drug to aid in your treatment if they follow the same standards used if you were making an in-person visit. While your physician should always be careful about any medications they prescribe for you, Illinois telehealth laws also don’t say anything specific about patient consent. However, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that your provider keeps your data private and secure.

III. What are other common telehealth restrictions in Illinois?

Overall, Illinois is not a highly regulated state when it comes to telemedicine. To practice telehealth, medical providers are instructed to maintain the same rules and regulations they would use when a patient is making an in-person visit. Otherwise, there are no other special restrictions imposed on health care practitioners concerning telemedicine.

Types of telehealth services allowed

According to Illinois regulations, covered services for Medicaid include live video for telemedicine and telepsychiatry services. The state’s Medicaid manual doesn’t specifically mention store-and-forward technologies, but it does cover remote patient monitoring for uterine contractions. Medicaid pays the originating fees for eligible provider sites. Telehealth services by phone, fax, text, or email are not covered. Private payers in Illinois define telehealth as involving an interactive telecommunication between patient and provider. This means, at a minimum, there should be an audio and visual connection, and it needs to take place in real-time.

Types of providers allowed to offer telehealth services

The types of providers who may provide telehealth services in Illinois include:

  • Physicians
  • Physician assistants
  • Podiatrists
  • Advanced practice registered nurses
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Clinical social workers
  • Mental health professionals and clinicians

Emergency allowances

Under the 2020 executive order, telehealth services were redefined to include all necessary health care services, including some limited dental and vision services, regardless of your location. This means the location where you receive health can be anywhere: your home, your office or even your garage if you can connect electronically to your doctor’s office. The E.O. also states what telehealth visits were to be covered by Medicaid and private health care providers.

IV. Telehealth provider resources in Illinois

As broadband services become increasingly available to Americans and the technology that medical professionals can use to deliver telehealth services improves, resources and information on the topic are more available. Below you will find resources that provide additional information on the delivery of telehealth services in Illinois.

University of Illinois – Office of Telehealth

The University of Illinois’s College of Medicine is actively exploring ways that technology can be used to deliver health care services for you and your family. The goal is to improve the services offered by health care providers and explore how new tools can be used to improve your health care.

Contact Information: Website | 312-413-0109

Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center

Serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, the Resource Center is a federally funded program. It provides information on all telehealth services and technical assistance on all telehealth issues in these four states.

Contact Information: Website | (855) 283-3734

Center for Connected Healthcare Policy –Covid-19 Related State Actions

This site is your one-stop source for information on telehealth policy in all 50 states, both before and after the Covid-19 outbreak. This page provides you with details on how every state has dealt with telemedicine and Covid-19, including Illinois.

Contact Information: Website | (877) 707-7172

V. Sources