Note: If you're preparing to offer Telehealth services to clients due to COVID-19, please see this blog post for more resources on Telehealth, a letter template, and more: How Coronavirus Impacts Your Practice.
Tip: If you need help troubleshooting Telehealth, see this guide for detailed steps to follow: Troubleshooting Telehealth appointment issues.
Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about Telehealth by SimplePractice, broken up into categories:
Adding Telehealth to my subscription
- How much does Telehealth cost?
- I currently use a free service. Why should I pay when there are free options?
- How do I turn Telehealth on or off?
- Is there a limit on using this feature?
Telehealth security and compliance
- Is SimplePractice HIPAA compliant?
- Do I need a BAA with SimplePractice to begin using Telehealth?
- Are video sessions recorded and/or stored?
- How does informed consent work for Telehealth?
- Do you have some examples of informed consent documents?
Preparing for Telehealth appointments
- What browser versions are supported?
- Will my clients have to install or download anything in order to join the session?
- If my client prefers to use a mobile device, is there an app they can get?
- Can I do group sessions?
- What if I need to offer a session to a client sooner than a reminder email/text can go out to them?
- Is there a whiteboard option?
- Can I turn off the sound notification when an attendee joins or leaves the Telehealth appointment?
Troubleshooting Telehealth appointment issues
- Why am I hearing an echo?
- What about if I'm having connectivity problems?
- What should I do if my client is appearing with a crossed-out speaker icon over their image in Telehealth?
- Why can't my client access their Telehealth appointment using the same link from past appointments?
Billing and legal policies for Telehealth
- Where can I get information on my state's Telehealth policies?
- Does insurance reimburse Telehealth appointments? If so, is there anything special I need to do? Is the amount less than an in-person session reimbursement?
- How does billing work?
- How does state licensure work?
- What are the requirements/restrictions regarding providing Telehealth services to minors?
- What other resources are available for Telehealth?
Note: To learn more about preparing to offer Telehealth services in your practice, see Getting started with Telehealth. For a resource to send to clients about Telehealth, refer to Telehealth FAQs for clients. You can also download this PDF to have a resource on-hand before your first appointment: Telehealth Checklist.
Adding Telehealth to my subscription
How much does Telehealth cost?
Telehealth costs $10/month per clinician and is only available with the Professional plan. For one provider, the monthly subscription cost would be $69 ($59 + $10).
I currently use a free service. Why should I pay when there are free options?
The reasons we are confident that customers will pay an additional $10 for the SimplePractice Telehealth package when there are free options available is two-fold:
- First, rather than using a stand-alone provider to do video appointments, with SimplePractice, you get a fully integrated suite of tools. Having everything securely stored in one central “hub” enables practices to save time, make better decisions, and present a more professional image to your clients.
- Second, you get all the features you’d expect from the an award-winning, best-in-class practice management solution on the market, including: the only 100% paperless intake system, our Note & Form Builder for all your documentation needs, access to our comprehensive template library, secure messaging, custom appointment reminders (SMS, email, or voicemail) that are completely free, superbills, electronic claim filing, and a beautiful client portal for your customers pay bills, request appoints, update credit card information, etc.
Paying $69 a month to have access to all these great features, PLUS unlimited Telehealth appointments is still less than most of our competitors.
How do I turn Telehealth on or off?
FYI: Telehealth is only available to customers with the Professional Plan. To learn more and compare plans, check out our pricing page.
To turn on Telehealth:
1. Go to: My Account > Settings and under Administration click Subscription Information.
2. Click Get Started in the Telehealth section:
Note: Enabling the Telehealth feature will create a new office location named Video Office. You can customize the name of this new location to reflect the unique needs of your practice. You do need to have a separate office location saved for this feature to work correctly.
Once enabled, you can create new Availability for your Video Office if you would like to allow Online Booking for Telehealth appointments and services.
Note: For detailed information about setting up your Availability, see this guide: Managing your Availability.
To turn Telehealth off:
1. Go to: My Account > Settings > Subscription Information.
2. Click Disable in the Telehealth section:
Is there a limit on using this feature?
There's no need to worry about your session timing out or only being able to offer a certain number of Telehealth appointments per month. Telehealth by SimplePractice is truly unlimited for just $10/mo.
We offer something different from other Telehealth services: a fully integrated experience that makes billing, notes, appointment reminders, and client communication much simpler compared to maintaining an external, stand-alone Telehealth solution.
Telehealth Security and Compliance
Is SimplePractice HIPAA compliant?
Yes, we meet or exceed all the requirements of HIPAA as a business associate, including the Business Associate Agreement (BAA) in which SimplePractice agrees to be responsible for keeping all client information private.
Additionally, SimplePractice has a partnership with the Telebehavioral Health Institute. The Telebehavioral Health Institute holds a high criteria with whom they partner, and we are proud of our relationship with the them: Telebehavioral Health Institute Affiliates, Partners and Sponsors .
Do I need a BAA with SimplePractice to begin using Telehealth?
When you signed up for your trial account with SimplePractice, you also agreed to our Terms of Service and Business Associate Agreement. Signing up for your trial constitutes a legally binding agreement as stated when you click the Start my free trial button.
All features in our platform are covered in this agreement, including Telehealth.
There will be no need for you to agree to or "sign" the BAA again once you switch to a paid subscription. You can access a copy of the agreement here: SimplePractice BAA.
Are video sessions recorded and/or stored?
We do not record or store any video sessions. We designed our Telehealth solution to complement your workflow, not change it. Therefore, since most customers don’t record in-person sessions, there is no need to record video sessions
How does informed consent work for Telehealth?
Certain states do not require consent, while some require verbal consent, and others require written consent that must be stored in the client’s record.
Here’s how to find out what your state requires:
- Go to The National Telehealth Policy Resource Center’s state map.
- Select your state and scroll down to the Consent section. Here you’ll be able to see whether state law requires you to get client consent.
Do you have some examples of informed consent documents?
Your account will include a default consent for Telehealth, but providers should review it very closely and update as needed.
Also, here are a few sample consent forms collected from various online sources. These are for informational purposes only, so it is your responsibility as the provider to update the content to meet your specific states’ requirements.
Preparing for Telehealth appointments
What browser versions are supported?
- Telehealth by SimplePractice works on the latest versions of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox on desktops/laptops.
- For Android, it can be run using Google Chrome for Android, Mozilla Firefox for Android, or with our Android app.
- iOS devices can use Safari or our iOS app.
For older browser versions, a dismissible warning banner is shown that requests users to update.
Note: We highly recommend ensuring you're using the most up-to-date browser version to have the best experience. Please be cautious when using this functionality on older browser versions and be aware that incompatibilities can cause unpredictable behavior.
Will my clients have to install or download anything in order to join the session?
Your clients will be able to easily & effortlessly join the session by simply clicking a link you provide.
They will not have to:
- download or install software or extensions
- enter a password or ID to access the session
- create an account or login into an account
We do offer a mobile app that clients have the option to download if they prefer to use a mobile device rather than a laptop or desktop for their session. They can find the app in the app store by searching for Telehealth by SimplePractice on their mobile device.
If my client prefers to use a mobile device, is there an app they can get?
Can I do group sessions?
A Telehealth group session right now for us is anything more than a one-on-one appointment between a clinician and a client on a dedicated session link between two computers. Though we are looking to support group sessions (3 or more individuals each on a different device) in the future, we don't support this right now.
What if I need to offer a session to a client sooner than a reminder email/text can go out to them?
In the event of a crisis or needing to offer a session sooner than a reminder can be sent out, you can copy the link from the Calendar. From the calendar, follow these steps:
- Schedule the appointment as usual
- Make sure that the location is Video Office
- Click Save
- Click the video camera icon that then appears on the appointment
- Press Share link to immediately send an email that includes the link to the client as long as they have email reminders enabled
Note: Reminders for Telehealth appointments go out based on the settings you have enabled for each client. They are available to send to clients 24, 36, 48, or 72 hours before the scheduled appointment. Based on those settings, the client will also get a text reminder and/or a email reminder about 10 minutes prior to their appointment time, as long as the appointment is set before the text/email reminder window. For a refresher on setting up these options, see: How to set up appointment reminders.
Is there a whiteboard option?
We do not currently offer whiteboard capabilities in our Telehealth platform. However, our team is actively listening to ideas and feedback about this from our community. If you have any suggestions or would like to vote for this feature request as a SimplePractice community member, please go to this post: SimplePractice Ideas and Suggestions.
Can I turn off the sound notification when an attendee joins or leaves the Telehealth appointment?
We've recently added a sound notification that indicates when an attendee joins or leaves a Telehealth appointment. This is designed to give transparency to all attendees, so there aren't any surprises when the someone joins, or if someone gets disconnected. Right now, there isn't an option to turn this feature off.
Troubleshooting Telehealth appointment issues
Why am I hearing an echo?
- If you're using external speakers, place the speakers as far away as possible from the laptop mic, and lower the volume to a comfortable level.
- If you're using an external microphone, move the microphone about a foot away from the speakers. You can also reduce the microphone level to 50 percent or less, and reduce or turn off the microphone boost option.
- Some computers have an echo cancellation feature, but it could be require a high CPU load. Closing other programs on your computer can help enable that feature.
- Using a headset or headphones instead of speakers can stop the echo issue.
What about if I'm having connectivity problems?
Connectivity is important for high-quality video and audio sessions. Follow these steps to make sure that you have a sufficiently fast, robust connection:
- Confirm that you're connected to the fastest connection available.
- It’s easy to connect to a less performant network accidentally (move around the house/office).
- Disable/enable network connection
- Reboot, if necessary to restore connection
- Use the SimplePractice Internet Connection Test to determine the strength of your WiFi before the start of your call.
What should I do if my client is appearing with a crossed-out speaker icon over their image in Telehealth?
If your client is appearing with a crossed-out speaker icon over their image in Telehealth and you're experiencing audio problems, this is most likely due to using Safari 11+. You should click the view of yourself in the bottom right portion of the screen to dismiss the icon and fix the sound.
Why can't my client access their Telehealth appointment using the same link from past appointments?
As of July 13th, 2020, all Telehealth appointment links will expire at the end of each session. This means that clients will not be able to bookmark the link to their appointments. In order for them to access the appropriate link for an upcoming Telehealth appointment, they'll need to either click Join Video Call from their Telehealth appointment email reminder, or click Join Video in the Upcoming appointments section in their Client Portal.
Clinicians also have the option to copy the unique Telehealth link from the appointment listed on their calendar to share with their client via Secure Message or another secure communication method.
Billing and legal policies for Telehealth
Where can I get information on my state's Telehealth policies?
The following organizations provide resources to help you learn more about your state’s specific policies and regulations:
- The Center for Connected Health Policy's (CCHP)
- American Telemedicine Association (ATA)’s State Policy Center
- The National Telehealth Policy Center’s state map
- State Medicaid Websites
Does insurance reimburse Telehealth appointments? If so, is there anything special I need to do? Is the amount less than an in-person session reimbursement?
Navigating Telehealth reimbursement can be very tricky. In order to find out more your specific state’s Telehealth rules, here are a few resources:
- The Center for Connected Health Policy's (CCHP) publishes an annual report that has up-to-date reimbursement policies for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. They also have an interactive map.
- American Telemedicine Association (ATA) also provides a map showing which states reimburse Telehealth services.
- Your local state board will have resources and information on how Telehealth reimbursement policies relate to your specific license type (LMFT, LPC, etc.).
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Medicare Telehealth Payment Eligibility Analyzer allows you to check if specific addresses are eligible for Medicare Telehealth reimbursement.
How does billing work?
When billing insurance, we recommend that you always check with the individual insurance payer to determine whether Telehealth services are covered and, if they are, which codes or modifier should be used for different types of services.
It is very important to check directly with the insurance payer because coverage for Telehealth change all the time. Download our Telehealth Resources Directory PDF to find links to legal, educational, and insurance resources for Telehealth.
How does state licensure work?
Clinicians must be licensed in each state in which he or she wants to provide Telehealth appointments.
What are the requirements/restrictions regarding providing Telehealth services to minors?
The age at which a person may lawfully consent to care varies with the health condition at issue, the person’s state of residence, or the state where the patient is at the time of the Telehealth visit. Therefore, clinicians should be aware of the rules for the state in which the client is physically located for that visit.
For more information, see American Telemedicine Association Practice Guidelines for Telemental Health with Children and Adolescents.