Special Board meeting regarding Telehealth and HIPAA platforms: March 26th 2020 @ 5pm
The North Dakota State Board of Examiners on Audiology and Speech Language Pathology shares the following statement as we all work to properly care for patients during these challenging and unprecedented times. We are aware that some of you have questions regarding the use of telepractice to deliver services in North Dakota.
While North Dakota laws related to the practice of audiology and speech language pathology do not use the term telepractice, or like terms, that does not prohibit licensees from providing services through remote or telepractice means. When licensees provide audiology or speech language pathology services to clients—whether in-person, face-to-face, remotely, electronically, or otherwise—they must comply with the standards set forth in NDCC ch. 43-37, NDAC ch. 11, and the Code of Ethics adopted by the Board. These laws explain the standards that must be met by licensees of the Board whether they are using telepractice tools or not. The confidentiality of patient information is always important in our profession, and we always encourage anyone who is using telepractice to ensure the tools they use are viable.
Guidance related to practitioners who choose to provide services through remote means has recently been issued by the Governor of North Dakota (through Executive Order 2020-05.1) and by the federal Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Civil Rights, among others. Of note, although the fields of audiology and speech language pathology are not specifically identified in Executive Order 2020-05.1, the section on 'Telehealth Services' would be applicable to our licensees. We encourage all licensees to review these resources and pay particular attention to the security necessary to maintain acceptable levels of confidentiality of patient data regardless of the resources they use to provide services. DHHS’s statement also discusses Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations as they will be interpreted during this crisis. We caution licensees that the loosened HIPAA regulations may not apply in all situations and your ability to get reimbursed may depend on the payer’s policy. For example, HIPPA requirements may be different based upon whether your patient is self pay or you are receiving reimbursement from Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare, etc.
But again, we encourage all licensees to pay particular attention to the security necessary to maintain confidentiality of patient data regardless of the resources they use to provide services.
Additional resources regarding telehealth can be found at: https://www.asha.org/About/Telepractice-Resources-During-COVID-19/ or https://www.audiology.org/practice-management/message-academy-executive-committee
We applaud you for your commitment to patient care during this challenging time.
The ND Board of Examiners on Audiology and Speech Language Pathology