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Telehealth in Ohio

A Social Work Guide to Telehealth in Ohio during the COVID-19 Outbreak

On March 19, NASW Ohio staff recorded a short video for both members and non-members about using telehealth to adapt practice during the outbreak. Watch the video here


In Ohio, telehealth practice (the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration) is subject to the same standards as traditional practice. The social worker must comply with guidelines for the locations of the social worker and the client. The social worker must accurately represent themselves and practice within their competencies. Informed consent must be expanded to address additional risks of using technology.


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Upcoming Webinars: 

As of May 2020, NASW Ohio is hosting bi-weekly member meetings. See the schedule, register for upcoming meetings and review past recordings at


Recorded Webinars

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Topics: Overview of telehealth policy changes due to public health crisis and NASW Ohio resources.

Watch video


Friday, March 27, 10-10:30 am

Topics: New emergency rules, House Bill 580 for mandatory telehealth reimbursement, documentation tips, ideas for teletherapy with young children, billing

Watch video


Friday, April 3, 2020

Topics: Update from Brian Carnahan, Executive Director of CSWMFT Board on electronic service delivery rule changes, license renewal, scope of practice, out of state practice.

Watch video


Friday, April 10, 2020

Topics: CSWMFT emergency rule filing re. telehealth, telephonic assessments, private insurance coverage for telehealth, Medicare reimbursement for telephonic services, community mental health services and COVID-19 impact

Watch video


Friday, April 17, 2020

Topics: Billing guidance,  waived copays, internet security for you and your clients

Watch video


Friday, April 24, 2020

Topics: waived cost sharing, verbal consent, workers' rights and protections

Watch video


Friday, May 1, 2020

Topics: New CMS guidance, safety and health when in-person sessions, contact tracing and HIPAA, anti-oppressive practice post-pandemic

Watch video

Please review the following:

What Telehealth Platform to Use

NASW-Ohio does not endorse any telehealth platform. We do recommend that you do not use a non-HIPAA compliant platform if it can be avoided. The Department of Health and  Human services has lessened requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 17, 2020 HHS said, “covered health care providers subject to the HIPAA Rules may seek to communicate with patients, and provide telehealth services, through remote communications technologies.  Some of these technologies, and the manner in which they are used by HIPAA covered health care providers, may not fully comply with the requirements of the HIPAA Rules.” HIPAA compliance has been mirroring technological change. Ensuring that your platform is HIPAA compliant is critical so as to reduce your risk and to maintain patient privacy.


Here are some platforms that are HIPAA compliant (again, NASW-Ohio is not endorsing any of these platforms.) A key element to HIPAA compliance is a signed Business Associate Agreement.

  • Regroup Therapy,, free unlimited, secure video conferencing with BAA
  • Google G Suite,, G Suite can support HIPAA compliance with a BAA, allowing PHI with core apps including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Keep, Sites, Hangouts, Chat, Hangouts Meet, and TasksSignal
  •, free, end-to-end encrypted messaging that should qualify as conduit under the HIPAA business associate rule

Insurance Coverage for Telehealth Services

Insurance coverage for teletherapy services is impacted by federal and state laws, as well as individual insurance company policies. Providers should check with their liability insurance and their patient’s insurance plan regarding how telehealth services are covered. NASW-Ohio is collecting that information now.Medicaid & OhioOhio providers of telepsychiatry services are reimbursed as long as certain conditions are met. Licensed Independent Social Workers (LISWs) are eligible telepsychiatry providers for certain services. Exceptions to reimbursement include: the recipient is located in a jail, detention center, prison; the provider is not an enrolled provider, or the provider does not follow established criteria for the service provided.


Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers certain telehealth services. The Medicare enrollee will pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the healthcare provider’s services, and the Part B deductible applies. For most telehealth services, the Medicare enrollee will pay the same amount that they would if they got the services in person. Part B covers mental health services provided by LCSWs.


Private Insurance

Ohio private insurance companies to cover telehealth services. Many still do, but it depends on the company and policy. To be sure to contact the companies you are paneled with. For a list of private insurance information visit  this link. It is still important to verify with your insurance companies what is covered for your specific plan. 


Interstate Telehealth Services

The licensing board for a state has jurisdiction when a client is physically in their state, so that state’s board decides if you are in compliance with their laws and rules when you work with someone who is inside their borders. Quite a few licensing boards have provisions for licensees of other states to practice temporarily with clients in their state. It is imperative to check the social work licensure rules in the state within which a potential client resides to determine if you are eligible to practice temporarily. Rules have been changed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For a list of current state rules (as of March 20, 2020) visit this link>>

Tech To-Dos

  • Enable full-device encryption on my desktop PCs, laptops, and smartphones
  • Implement a strong password policy, setup a password manager, use two factor authentication (2FA)
  • Move to Google G Suite or Microsoft Office 365 for Business for email
  • Install antivirus and anti-malware apps Conduct a tech risk assessment

Phone Calls

  • The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, & Marriage and Family Therapist Board permits phone based sessions as long as the first session is done face-to-face (can be video face-to-face). 
  • You'll need to check with your insurance companies as to whether they cover it. NASW will be advocating for more coverage of phone-based sessions. For more information about what plans are covering phone-only sessions visit this link>>
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