What is Telehealth?

Under California law, Telemedicine or “Telehealth” is the delivery of health care services using information and communication technologies to consult, diagnose, treat, or educate a patient while the patient is at an “originating site” and the health care provider is at a “distant site.” The “originating site” is the site where a patient is located at the time health care services are provided through a telecommunications system.

The practice of telehealth involves providing services in one of two ways. The first mode is through a “synchronous interaction” which is a live, real-time, interactive, audiovisual, two-way communication. An example of a live, real-time, interactive communication is therapy performed over the telephone or through videoconferencing. The second mode is an “asynchronous interaction” which is not a real-time interaction.2 An example of an asynchronous interaction is providing therapy via e-mail. Keep in mind that routine e-mail and instant messaging conversations, where professional therapy services are not rendered, are excluded from the definition of telehealth.

Who is TeleHealth for?

TeleHealth services are for anyone who needs to connect with their clinical provider, but are unable to stop by our offices for an in-person appointment. TeleHealth works best when you enter the session ready to discuss a targeted area of concern in your life, or in your relationships.

Can an LMFT in California Provide Psychotherapy to a client outside the state of California?

A California marriage and family therapist license allows the holder to practice psychotherapy in the state of California. California law states: “Marriage and family therapists provide a crucial support for the well-being of the people and the State of California.”3 The BBS acknowledges that licensing requirements vary by state and individuals who provide psychotherapy or counseling to persons in California are required to be licensed in California. Thus, a California license does not – in and of itself – allow a therapist to practice in any jurisdiction other than in California. The location of the patient determines the applicable law.

Currently, there is no reciprocity between California and any other state which would allow a California LMFT to practice in a different jurisdiction. All fifty states, including DC, regulate the practice of marriage and family therapy. Consequently, there may be legal implications when a provider wants to continue to offer services to a patient who is outside the state of California.

References from: CAMFT: