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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: February 12, 2024 04:12 PM
From: Senator Lynda Schlegel Culver
To: All Senate members
Subject: Updating Pennsylvania's Telebehavioral Health Requirements
Many behavioral health providers, especially in rural areas, use virtual technology to deliver services. Using remote technology provides patients with convenient access to care, along with reducing costs associated with travel. 

Current regulations require outpatient clinics to have two hours of on-site psychiatric time per week for each full-time employee. Psychiatrists must be physically in the office for at least 50% of that time. The remaining time may be covered by a psychiatrist or an advanced practice professional.

In recognition of the popularity and convenience of tele-health, Act 76 of 2022 (HB 2419) authorized the Department of Human Services (DHS) to grant waivers for the on-site requirement. This was a step in the right direction. A permanent fix is now needed.

I plan to introduce legislation that would allow the on-site time to be performed by either a psychiatrist or an advanced practice professional. This will give providers the permanent flexibility to satisfy the on-site requirements, and at the same time, comply with federal rules so payment can be made to providers that see Medicaid patients. My legislation would also allow DHS to issue waivers to providers that are fully remote so they can see patients covered under private insurance.

The legislation is supported by the Rehabilitation & Community Providers Association (RCPA) and the Department of Human Services.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.