Mental Health by Telehealth
On June 11, 2020, during a general board meeting, the Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling discussed the pending expiration of emergency rule 64B4ER20-24, Florida Administrative Code. The emergency rule was implemented in response to preparing for, responding to, and mitigating any effect of COVID-19 and authorized registered interns to provide telehealth services during the next 90 days, expiring on July 3, 2020. Due to continuing concerns with COVID-19 and recommendations for social distancing, the Board voted to modify rule 64B4-2.002, Florida Administrative code. The filed rule language includes the following provisions:
- Registered interns may provide face-to-face psychotherapy by electronic methods if the registered intern has a written telehealth protocol and safety plan in place with their current qualified supervisor which includes the provision that the qualified supervisor must be readily available during the electronic therapy session. The registered intern and their qualified supervisor have determined, through their professional judgements, that providing face-to-face psychotherapy by electronic methods is not detrimental to the patient is necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the patient, the registered intern, or both, and does not violate any existing statutes or regulations.
- Qualified supervisors may utilize face-to-face electronic methods, including telephone only communication, to conduct all supervisory sessions for internship hours if the qualified supervisor determines, through their professional judgment, that such methods are not detrimental to the registered intern’s patients and are necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the qualified supervisor, the registered intern, or both.
- Any clinical hours obtained via face-to-face psychotherapy by electronic means shall be considered clinical hours for the purpose of meeting internship requirements.
- No later than 90 days prior to June 30, 2021, the Board shall review and amend, modify, or repeal paragraphs (6) and (7) above if it determines that same creates barriers to entry for private business competition, is duplicative, outdated, obsolete, overly burdensome, imposes excessive costs, or otherwise negatively impacts the quality of psychotherapy received by Florida citizens.
For the approved language, please click here.
For further information regarding telehealth guidelines, please click here.