Ben Rosen
Director of Public Information
New York State Office of Mental Health
518-474-6540
benjamin.rosen@omh.ny.gov

November 21, 2016
OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH ANNOUNCES NEW TELEPSYCHIATRY REGULATIONS TO EXPAND
ACCESS TO PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES New Regulations Enable 250 Providers Across
New York State to Offer and Access Telepsychiatry Services

ALBANY, NY – The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today
announced the adoption of new regulations which will expand the
availability of psychiatric services in communities throughout New York.
The new regulations will allow virtual psychiatry appointments between any
providers licensed under Article 31 of the Mental Hygiene Law, with
specific provisions to ensure quality of care and patient confidentiality.
Previous regulations enacted in February 2015 limited the use of
telepsychiatry between Article 31 licensed clinics.

“Due to a nationwide shortage of psychiatrists, especially in rural
communities, access to psychiatric services can be difficult to find,”
said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “Under
these new regulations, a patient in Vestal will now be able to receive
mental health services from a psychiatrist in Valhalla, with minimal wait
time. Telepsychiatry is yet another tool in our expanding service package
that will provide earlier and easier access to mental health services for
New Yorkers.”

The expanded regulations open telepsychiatry services up to 250 mental
health providers who were not previously permitted to use the technology,
such as Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Programs, Inpatient Programs
and Partial Hospitalization Programs. The regulations exclude Assertive
Community Treatment and Personalized Recovery Oriented Services programs,
as the model for success of these programs are based upon face-to-face
interactions between providers and individuals in care. The revised
regulations continue to include a number of safeguards to ensure quality of
care, patient confidentiality, and add provisions to monitor the impact
upon the programmatic resources of OMH-licensed providers.

“As a key component of our eHealth initiative that also brings telehealth
services to network intensive care units, last year the Westchester Medical
Center Health Network became the first non-state operated provider in New
York to incorporate telepsychiatry into its behavioral health care process.
In this short period of time, the practice has proven to be very beneficial
to clients and our services,” said *Stephen Ferrando, MD*, *Director of
Psychiatry at Westchester Medical Center**,* *Maria Fareri Children’s
Hospital and Behavioral Health Center*. “Clients are experiencing an easier
and more efficient process, appointment cancellations have decreased
dramatically and our behavioral health specialists are able to provide
their expert counsel to more clients. As far as Westchester Medical Center
Health Network is concerned, telepsychiatry has been well worth our
investment.”

Participating providers are required to provide information to prospective
clients regarding the usage of telepsychiatry to ensure that clients can
make an informed decision about the use of this method of treatment
delivery. OMH has also issued guidance to its providers, which includes
technological standards to ensure that the equipment allows the
psychiatrist to manipulate the camera via pan, tilt, and zoom, in order to
better observe the patient’s body language. OMH anticipates further
expansion of the regulations to include its use with all licensed providers
in an effort to ensure that individuals in all regions of the state will
have timely access to behavioral health services.

To read the newly adopted regulations in their entirety, click here:
on.ny.gov/2egD6C9

To view a video demonstration of telepsychiatry, click here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kkOsY3A498

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