EMERGENCY SERVICES: Immediately call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room for treatment if you feel you’re a danger to yourself or others.
Pathways does not provide emergency services for new or existing clients.
PATHWAYS OF OHIO COUNSELING IS A VIRTUAL BEHAVIORAL TELEHEALTH PROVIDER. Pathways of Ohio Counseling Services, LLC offers only virtual behavioral telehealth services. This means you will receiving your behavioral health services via video or telephone service.
About Telehealth Behavioral Health Services
COVID-19 led to significant stress in our society in general and forced many people to stay in their homes for long periods of time. Given these circumstances, virtual, or telehealth became a necessary method of delivering behavioral health services.
The clinical staff of Pathways of Ohio Counseling Services successfully delivered high quality behavioral health care services to hundreds of clients during the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to do so today.
Studies regarding outcomes of virtual behavioral health services have proven therapy delivered via telehealth provides the same quality of care as office sessions, that is, in most cases, telehealth psychotherapy is as effective as office sessions for treating a range of behavioral health diagnoses, including anxiety disorders and mood disorders, as well as specialized treatment such as binge eating, self-harming behaviors, grief and most situations around life stressors.
Just as importantly, the use of virtual behavioral telehealth services helps breakdown the stigma often associated with mental health treatment, encouraging more people to seek the help they need.
What are the Benefits of Virtual Behavioral Health Services?
Virtual behavioral health therapy is more convenient than traditional office therapy. You simply log on to a website or app from the comfort of your home or any other location you find convenient. This offers you the ultimate in personal privacy in that you will not be associated with a behavioral health practice by being seen in a waiting room or being tracked by location sharing software.
Telehealth sessions also allow Pathways’ therapists to offer more flexible scheduling, making it easier for you to fit a session into your busy day.
Telehealth provides convenience to people whose schedule doesn’t allow time for in-office sessions, those who have difficulty getting to an office appointment, eliminates the need to arrange for transportation, removes physical barriers to getting into the therapist’s office as well as benefits those who live some distance from their therapist’s office location in both time and transportation costs. It also allows clients from all over the State of Ohio access to benefit from treatment by our expert staff.
Most importantly, in these uncertain times triggered by COVID-19 and its variants, virtual sessions protect both you and your therapist from potential exposure to viruses and bacteria that could have a negative impact on your health.
You may have questions about how telehealth service delivery is different from traditional office sessions. Here are some things to consider:
What Methods of Communication does Pathways use for Telehealth?
Virtual sessions are conducted through two-way video sessions or by telephone service. Video sessions provide the closest experience to being in the therapist’s office and is Pathways’ preferred method of delivering psychotherapy services, but the method of delivery depends on the client’s preference and technological capabilities. Although we support telephone sessions, a phone call makes it impossible for your therapist to see your nonverbal cues.
What Equipment do I Need to Participate in Virtual Behavioral Health with my Therapist?
Video sessions require the use of a device that has both video and voice, i.e., a camera and microphone and an internet connection. Most computers, laptops, tablets, and cell phones have both and are easy to set up and use. You will also need a valid email address to participate in video sessions.
Telephone sessions simply require a working telephone number where your therapist can reach you.
Will my PHI (Protected Health Information) be at Risk?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is applicable to telehealth sessions, just as it is to office counseling. That means your PHI health information is protected under federal law during telehealth sessions.
There is minimal risk your PHI would be compromised when you are using the secure video connection we offer. However, if you choose telephone therapy, keep in mind that Pathways’ therapists do not use voice encryption services, which could put some of your PHI data, specifically your telephone number, and possibly other elements, at risk.
Will the Content/Conversation of my Session be at Risk?
Pathways’ uses end-to-end encrypted, HIPAA compliant technologies to protect your privacy during video telehealth sessions.
Again, if you choose telephone services for your telehealth sessions you may be vulnerable to hackers listening in on your conversations with your therapist, just as you accept some level of risk in any other conversation over your phone.
Can I record my psychotherapy sessions?
No. Neither you or your therapist may record your video or telephone sessions without the express written permission from you, your therapist and Pathways’ managing owner and clinical director, acknowledging there is proof of a specific and demonstratable benefit to all parties to allow recording.
Is there an Additional Cost to me for using Telehealth?
Pathways’ charges the same insurance and cash rates as we would for office sessions.
All the major insurance companies Pathways works with have previously announced they have permanently integrated behavioral telehealth into their business plans. CMS (Medicare and Medicaid) has pledged to pay for telehealth services through the end of 2023 and there is little doubt in the health industry that CMS will make telehealth permanent before the end of 2023.
However, not all commercial policies, including Medicare Advantage Plans cover the same services or guarantee the same benefits, so if you are using your health insurance to help pay for your behavioral telehealth services, you should check with your provider to ensure your policy will cover virtual behavioral health sessions. To do this:
- Call your insurance provider to verbally confirm telehealth coverage
- Clarify how the insurance carrier classifies telehealth (is it video-chat only, or does it also include phone calls?)
If your insurance provider does not cover virtual telehealth services, you may choose to pay for your treatment by paying us directly for your services. In many cases self-payment for services can be less expensive for you than dealing with insurance plans that have high deductibles, copays or coinsurance payments.
If your internet plan or telephone provider plan has usage caps, your behavioral telehealth services will count toward your usage. Pathways is not responsible for any additional service charges from your internet or phone carrier associated with the use of behavioral telehealth services.