What is Tele-Mental Healthcare?

The word "tele" is greek for "far off."  Essentially it is mental healthcare at a distance.  Some literature has started using the abbreviation "CV" or "clinical video-conferencing" which is more specific.  Tele-mental healthcare is an umbrella term that could mean services provided by phone, email or video-conferencing.  I do not use e-mail to communicate with patients, however I will use the phone on occasion.


The vast majority of sessions are held via clinical video-conferencing software.  I use Zoom because it is HIPAA compliant, has a record of being reliable and uses less bandwidth than other companies.


Although tele-mental health has been around since the 1950's, the vast majority of publications have appeared in the last 20 years.  An increasing number of controlled trials are demonstrating the effectiveness of tele-mental health to treat a multitude of mental health disorders. 


Legal precedents have been made to such an extent that many states have parity laws that mandate insurance companies reimburse tele-mental health visits the same as in-person visits, Virginia is one of these states.  For more information on billing see the Fees page.