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

New York requires every telehealth provider to be licensed or certified and have a current registration under the New York State Education Law. This includes physicians, nurse practitioners, and behavioral health professionals. Providers must be in the United States or one of its territories while providing telehealth services.

Requirements for out-of-state treatment

New York isn’t a member of any major interstate licensing compacts, including the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, PSYPACT, or the Nurse Licensure Compact. These compacts allow providers in member states to provide telehealth services to patients outside their own states without having to obtain multiple licenses. Since New York doesn’t belong to any of the compacts, providers aren’t allowed to treat patients outside of New York unless they meet additional licensing requirements.

Emergency licensure

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York and several surrounding states waived some of their requirements related to provider licensing and telehealth services. As long as Executive Order No. 202.5 is in effect, providers from eligible states are allowed to provide telehealth services to patients in New York without obtaining a New York license or certification. Providers in New York are also allowed to provide telehealth services to residents of participating states without obtaining additional credentials.

II. What are the online prescribing regulations in New York?

In New York, health care professionals are required to use electronic prescribing for all controlled and noncontrolled medications, with a few exceptions. For example, providers are exempt from the requirement if the prescription instructions are complex, if the instructions are more than 140 characters, or the prescription is for a compounded substance containing two or more components. Providers aren’t required to perform physical examinations before prescribing medications to telehealth patients. To submit an electronic prescription, the provider must have a secure system to protect patient data as it travels between computers.

III. What are other common telehealth restrictions in New York?

New York has restrictions in place to protect you and ensure that you receive the same level of care via telemedicine as you would during an in-person encounter. These restrictions cover the types of services permitted and the types of providers allowed to offer telehealth services. In some cases, the state makes emergency allowances to ensure you can continue accessing care even if you can’t see your regular provider.

Types of telehealth services allowed

Under state law, providers are allowed to offer telehealth services via live video and store-and-forward technology. They can also be reimbursed for some types of remote monitoring, such as tracking a patient’s blood pressure via an app. Store-and-forward technology allows your provider to receive reimbursement for certain services provided outside a live encounter, such as reviewing your X-rays or reading a report from a consulting specialist. All live encounters must use two-way communication to qualify for reimbursement.

Types of providers allowed to offer telehealth services

New York permits a wide variety of providers to offer telehealth services within the state. Eligible providers include:

  • Physicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Midwives
  • Credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselors
  • Certain individuals certified to provide health education

The Commissioner of the Department of Health may add new types of providers to this list at any time. All providers must have the appropriate license or certification from the Office of Professions.

Emergency allowances

To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, New York has been permitting eligible providers to offer telehealth services via telephone. Each telephonic encounter must be documented appropriately for the provider to qualify for Medicaid reimbursement. New York is also allowing providers to deliver services from a wider range of distant sites. Under the emergency guidelines, a provider doesn’t have to be in New York to provide telehealth services to a New York resident.

IV. Telehealth provider resources in New York

Telehealth requirements change frequently, so check the Center for Connected Health Policy website for information on the latest guidelines and visit the following resources. If your computer or mobile device doesn’t have the audio or video capabilities you need for a telemedicine appointment, check your local electronics store or big-box retailer for a microphone, webcam, set of speakers, or whatever else you need.

New York State Department of Financial Services

The New York State Department of Financial Services accepts complaints related to insurance companies, surprise medical bills, and other financial concerns. If your insurance company refuses to cover a telehealth visit, or if you’re charged more than you expected, visit the DFS site to lodge a complaint. You can also file a complaint if you receive a “surprise” medical bill or a bill for the difference between what an out-of-network provider charges and what your insurance plan covers.

Contact Information: Website | 800-342-3736

New York State Department of Health

The New York State Department of Health provides a variety of services aimed at keeping New York residents healthy, including health education, emergency preparedness, and hospital surveillance. If you have concerns about any of your health care providers, you can lodge a complaint by visiting the DOH website. The department accepts complaints related to professional medical conduct, hospitals, laboratories, and diagnostic treatment centers. You can also use the site to view hospital and physician profiles.

Contact Information: Website | 800-663-6114

New York State Office of the Professions

The New York State Office of the Professions is a helpful resource for anyone who wants to verify the professional license of a physician, mental health counselor, social worker, or other health professional. To verify a license, choose a profession and enter the provider’s last name. The website displays each person’s license number, date of initial licensure, and license expiration date, giving you the peace of mind of knowing that you’ll be seeing a licensed professional.

Contact Information:Website | 518-474-3817, Press 1, then ext. 570

V. Sources