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Telehealth

Telehealth services are available to currently enrolled students at Ohio University, Athens Campus. Telehealth services may include either face-to-face video conferencing or audio phone therapy. This service is available to students who are screened as being appropriate for mental health services via Telehealth.    

Getting Started

If you are not currently receiving services at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), begin by scheduling an appointment.

If you have a CPS counselor, contact your counselor via email to schedule.

Phone and laptop

First Appointment  

  1. Schedule an appointment
  2. Complete an intake questionnaire and appropriate consent forms prior to your initial Telehealth appointment. You will be contacted via your OHIO email account with directions for completing these forms.   
  3. After your initial appointment, you and your counselor will determine whether the follow up appointments will be audio only (phone) or video (ZOOM for Healthcare).    
  4. Your counselor will verify your identity and your location.
  5. If you choose to have follow-up appointments on video format:  
    • Follow these instructions to get started on ZOOM.
    • Log in to ZOOM five minutes prior to the appointment to ensure it's working. Expect to receive a email with a ZOOM link to access the meeting. After clicking the link, you will be in the “waiting room” and your counselor will join as soon as they are ready. 

Tips for Success

  • Choose a confidential location and ensure no one else is present. Do not have a counseling session in a public location.   
  • If utilizing ZOOM for video sessions, have an environment with good lighting where your counselor can see you well. Nonverbal signals are a significant part of someone’s communication and will help you and your counselor have better communication.
  • Ensure your environment is distraction-free and have a plan should you encounter distractions (e.g., a phone call, a pet, interruptions).
  • Have a back-up method in the event your technology fails.

Agreement for Telehealth

Consent, Rights and Responsibilities    

  • To receive Telehealth services at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), you must be physically located in Ohio. Telehealth services may not be provided to anyone across the Ohio border or in international jurisdictions.   
  • If you are not an adult, permission from your parent or legal guardian (and their contact information) is needed for you to participate in Telehealth.   
  • Students must meet the usual eligibility criteria for receiving counseling services which includes:   
    • Any Ohio University undergraduate or graduate student who is currently enrolled in classes.
    • Undergraduate students are covered under the Guaranteed tuition plan for the current semester.   
    • Graduate students are covered under the Well-Being plan for the current semester.  
  • Telehealth should not be viewed as a substitute for face-to-face counseling or medication by a physician. It is an alternative form of counseling with some differences from traditional counseling.  
  • Your CPS provider will determine if Telehealth services are appropriate.   
    • Not all mental health concerns are clinically appropriate for Telehealth services. If you are having a crisis, acute psychosis, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts, Telehealth might not be appropriate for your needs.  
    • Your provider will regularly reassess the appropriateness of delivering services through technology.   
    • Your provider may recommend the provision of in-person services for specific concerns.  
    • If a need for direct, in-person services arises, your provider will refer you to a local mental health provider. It is your responsibility to contact providers in your area.  
  • Requests for services from students outside of Ohio are limited to phone consultation at this time.   
    • Phone consultation will focus on some immediate support and assistance with finding resources that are local to student’s area.  
  •  It is your responsibility to maintain privacy on your end of communication.   
    • Any family member or other individual that you would like to have present during the virtual visit must have a prior approval from your provider and may require additional consents.    
    • All individuals present for the virtual visit must be within view of the camera so the provider is aware of who is participating.  
  • You may decline Telehealth services at any time without jeopardizing your access to future care, services, and benefits.  
  • You shall not record Telehealth counseling sessions. Your CPS counselor does not record your sessions unless there is a written agreement between you and your counselor — this is done for supervision purposes only.  You or CPS shall not disseminate any personally identifiable images or information from the Telehealth counseling interactions to other entities without a written consent agreement between you and your counselor.  
    • CPS uses ZOOM for Healthcare — a HIPAA compliant application that does not allow recording of sessions.  

Missed Appointments or Cancellations

Telehealth counseling appointments occur at the times agreed upon between you and your provider. If you miss your scheduled appointment, you must contact your provider or the CPS main office at (740) 593-1616 to reschedule.  

Confidentiality and Privacy   

CPS utilizes multiple measures to ensure client’s confidentiality and privacy from the counselor’s side of the session. CPS discusses measures that the student should take to ensure confidentiality and privacy from their end.

EXAMPLES INCLUDE:

  • Conduct the sessions in a private location where others cannot hear you.  
  • Use secure video conferencing technology, CPS uses ZOOM for Healthcare — a HIPAA compliant application.
  • Do not record sessions. ZOOM for Healthcare does not allow recording of sessions. If your ZOOM meeting has a record option, please notify the counselor immediately.  
  • Password protect your computer, tablet, phone, and any other device with a password that is unique.    
  • Always log out of your sessions.  
  • Do not allow software to remember your password — sign in every time.  
  • Do not share passwords with anyone.  
  • Do not share devices when you are logged on to counseling software.  
  • If you wish to avoid others knowing that you are receiving counseling services, clear your browser’s cache (browsing history), and on your phone list your therapist by a name, rather that as “counselor or therapist”.  
  • Have all of your devices set to time out requiring you to sign back in after a set idle time.  
  • Keep your computer updated.  
  • Use a firewall and antivirus program.  
  • Notify your counselor if you suspect any breach in your security.  

Limits to Confidentiality

  • if such disclosure is necessary to protect the client or someone else from imminent danger;  
  • in cases of apparent ongoing child abuse or abuse of a person unable to care for themselves;  
  • in those rare instances when courts subpoena counseling records.  

Crisis or Emergency

Your provider will need to know the location or address in which you will consistently be during counseling sessions and will need to know if this location changes. Together, you and the provider will develop a plan to follow in the event of an emergency. Your provider will have access to the emergency contact plan information.  

EMERGENCY CONTACT PLAN INCLUDES: 

  • Emergency contact name, phone number, and address  
  • Client’s phone number and current address, including county
  • Contact information for your local crisis hotline  
  • Contact information for local law enforcement  
  • Contact information for mental health crisis service providers operating in client’s county of residence  

During an emergency, do not contact your provider via Telehealth. Your provider may not check messages outside the scheduled appointments.

Learn More About Crisis Resources

Technology Requirements

  • Your  provider will determine if your technological capacity (e.g., private space, proper equipment and sufficient internet access) and competence are appropriate for Telehealth services.   
  • All technology utilized by your provider is compliant with Ohio Administrative Codes that apply to providers’ licenses, with the exception of email used for scheduling.   
    • CPS utilizes ZOOM for Healthcare — a HIPAA compliant technology.    
    • All communications between the client and the counselor occur within the secure patient portal, with the exception of email for scheduling purposes  
  • You must have a device that can access the internet, and to maintain the highest level of confidentiality, it is important that you are in a private space with a secured internet connection (e.g., not a public or shared connection).   
  • Preferred devices for clients to use when video conferencing are desktop computers, laptops and tablets.

Limitations and Risks 

There are risks in transmitting information over the internet that include, but are not limited to:    

  • The possibility, despite reasonable efforts on the part of the provider, that the transmission of your personal information could be disrupted or distorted by technical failures;   
  • The transmission of your personal information could be interrupted by unauthorized persons; and the electronic storage of your personal information could be accessed by unauthorized persons.   

Other limitations include reduced quality of service due to the use of technology: 

  • Video communication may lack some visual or audio cues that on occasion may result in misunderstanding. Should this ever happen, it is important to assume that your counselor has positive regard for you, and to check out your assumptions with your counselor. This will reduce unnecessary feelings of discomfort.  
  • Your  provider will discuss the possibility of technology failure and the procedure in the event services are disrupted, anticipated response time to electronic communication, alternative service deliveries, and electronic communication between scheduled appointments and after normal working hours.   

Backup Plan

The most reliable backup is a phone. Therefore, it is recommended that you always have a phone available, and that you provide your counselor with your phone number.   

If you get disconnected from a video conferencing session, restart the session. If you are unable to reconnect within ten minutes, call your counselor.