Purpose: The purpose of this rule is to define TeleMental
Health and to establish minimum standards for the delivery of services by a
licensed Professional Counselor, Social Worker, or Marriage and Family
Therapist using technology-assisted media.
1.Asynchronous store and forward - means the
transmission of a client's information from an originating site to a licensee
at a distant site without the presence of the client.
2.Distant site - means a site or location
from which services are delivered by a licensee via a technology-assisted
3.Licensee - means a person
licensed in the state of Georgia as a Professional Counselor, Social Worker or
Marriage and Family Therapist, including Associate licensees.
4.Originating site - means a site where a
client is located at the time TeleMental Health services are provided via
technology-assisted media or where the asynchronous store and forward services
interaction - means a real-time interaction between a client and a licensee
located at a distant site.
6.TeleMental Health - means the mode of
delivering services via technology-assisted media, such as but not limited to,
a telephone, video, internet, a smartphone, tablet, PC desktop system or other
electronic means using appropriate encryption technology for electronic health
information. TeleMental Health facilitates client self-management and support
for clients and includes synchronous interactions and asynchronous store and
Health Supervision - means the delivery of supervision via technology-assisted
media by a supervisor at one site while the supervisee is located at a distant
site. Telemental health supervision may include, without being limited to, the
review of case presentation, audio tapes, video tapes, and observation in order
to promote the development of the practitioner's clinical skills.
Training for Licensee:
Prior to the delivery of clinical
TeleMental Health, the licensee shall have obtained a minimum of six (6)
continuing education hours. The continuing education hours may include but are
not limited to the following, in the discretion of the Board:
(I) Internet use dependency and psychological
problems - an overview of how Internet users become dependent upon the Internet
to such an extent that their Internet use is causing serious problems in their
(II) Research in Telemental
Health - review of evidence base for mental health practice conducted using
(III) Intake and
Assessment- initial intake and assessment necessary to determine a client's
suitability for telemental health, including informed consent.
(IV) Delivery Methods - recognize appropriate
use of telecounseling, asynchronous email/message posting, synchronous digital
chat, video-assisted therapy and other electronically supported modes of
(V) Theory Integration -
understand how to adapt counseling/therapy theory and effective in-person
techniques to telemental health.
(VI) Termination - recognize similarities and
differences between in-person and telemental health closure while providing
technology-assisted strategies for reestablishing contact if and/or when
(VII) Risk Management -
understanding privacy and security standards of applicable laws such as Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ensuring high quality practices
and procedures that are legally sound and ethically protect clients and
safeguard against litigation, including protection of electronic
(VIII) Business of
Telemental Health - review of ethically sound ways to advertise and incorporate
telemental health into an existing suite of therapeutic/clinical services.
(ii) If the licensee has
taken the hours required in this section within the last 5 years, those hours
do not need to be repeated in order to meet requirements in this section.
(i) Training of the TeleMental Health
Supervisor: Prior to the delivery of supervision via telemental health, the
supervisor shall have obtained a minimum of nine (9) hours of continuing
education. The continuing education hours may include the same eight (8)
categories identified under "Training for Licensee", rule section
(b)(1)(i)(I-VIII) above, plus, must also include three (3) hours
in the category of: Supervising TeleMental Health Therapy - understanding the
key components necessary to supervise effective, and efficient delivery of
telemental health therapy.
the supervisor has taken the hours required in this section within the last 5
years, those hours do not need to be repeated in order to meet requirements in
(iii) Board rules
135-5 define the acceptable requirements for a Board recognized supervisor and
supervision for the Counselor, Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy
professions. Supervisors and supervision must meet the requirements of the
specialty found in the applicable section of Board rules 135-5 that define
supervisor and supervision for the Counselor, Social Work and Marriage and
Family Therapy professions.
Informed Consent: Prior to the delivery of supervision via TeleMental Health,
the supervisor at the distant site shall inform the supervisee that TeleMental
Health will be used and obtain verbal and written consent from the supervisee
for this use.
Consent - Prior to the delivery of TeleMental Health services by a licensee via
technology-assisted media, the licensee at the distant site shall inform the
client that TeleMental Health services via technology-assisted media will be
used, and the licensee shall obtain verbal and written consent from the client
for this use. The verbal and written consent shall be documented in the
client's record. Consent must include disclosure of the use of any third party
vendor such as a record keeping, billing service or legal counsel.
4.Client Assessment - Careful assessment
using assessment instruments referenced in Rule 135.-7-.05 as appropriate is
required in order to determine whether an individual may be properly assessed
and/or treated via TeleMental Health services through technology-assisted
media. Clients who cannot be treated properly via TeleMental Health services
should be treated in person, or else they should not be accepted as clients or,
if already accepted, properly terminated with appropriate referrals.
5.Code of Ethics -The failure of a licensee
to comply with these requirements shall constitute unprofessional conduct under
the Code of Ethics as described in Board rule 135-7. A licensee delivering
health care services via TeleMental Health shall comply with all Code of Ethics
requirements as described in Board rule 135-7.
6.Scope of Practice - This rule shall not be
construed to alter the scope of practice of any licensee or authorize the
delivery of services in a setting, or in a manner, not otherwise authorized by
7.Out-of-State Clients -
Licensees who want to offer TeleMental Health services outside the state are
advised to check with the state board in which the client resides for
information about telemental health regulations outside of
education hours obtained pursuant to this rule within a two year licensure
cycle may be applied to the required thirty-five (35) hours for that licensure
cycles renewal/expiration date.
Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 135-11-.01
entitled "TeleMental Health" adopted. F. Sep. 17,
2015; eff. Oct. 7, 2015.