Telepsychiatry in Pennsylvania

Telepsychiatry can be used to augment behavioral health services in a variety of facilities including hospitals, federally qualified health centers, community clinics, correctional facilities, outpatient offices, primary care offices, crisis centers, schools, geriatric facilities and more. 

Telepsychiatry Approval Process  

In Pennsylvania, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) must approve any program that seeks to use telepsychiatry. For more information about the OMHSAS approval process, please see the “OMHSAS Guidelines for the Approval of Telepsych Services in HealthChoices” bulletin.  

Reimbursement 

  • Medicaid: 
    • PA Medicaid will reimburse for telepsychiatry outpatient services including: 
    • Psychiatric diagnostic evaluations 
    • Psychological evaluations 
    • Pharmacological management 
    • Consultations 
    • Psychotherapy  
  • Medicare 
    • Medicare only reimburses for telehealth services that are provided to a patient at one of 11 outlined originating sites and that site has to be located in a health professional shortage area (HPSA) or a county outside a metropolitan statistical area (MSA).  
  • Private Payers 
    • There’s no parity law in place but payers may still offer coverage for telehealth services depending on their specific policies 

Cross State Licensing 

  • Clinicians need to have a Pennsylvania license in order to provide telepsychiatry services to patients located in the state.  
  • Pennsylvania has enacted legislation to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) but their implementation process has been delayed 
  • Pennsylvania has pending legislation to join the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). 

Helpful Resources