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The Legal Department articles are not intended to serve as legal advice and are offered for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for independent legal advice and it is not intended to address every situation that could potentially arise. Please be aware that laws, regulations and technical standards change over time. As a result, it is important to verify and update any reference or information that is provided in the article.
The following is a sample Telehealth Consent Form that CAMFT members may utilize in their practice or alter as they deem appropriate for their clientele.
by Ann Tran-Lien, JD
Managing Director of Legal Affairs
Mental health professionals across the nation are utilizing Telehealth1 to provide necessary psychotherapy services to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In early April, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-43-20, which suspended the legal requirement that health care providers, including psychotherapists, obtain written or verbal consent from patients for the use of Telehealth. Under normal conditions, the law requires therapists to inform the patient about the use of Telehealth, obtain from the patient verbal or written consent for the use of Telehealth as an acceptable mode of delivering psychotherapy services, and document the consent in the patient’s treatment record.2
As with in-person psychotherapy services, it is important that therapists feel reasonably assured that patients know, understand, and are in agreement with the terms of their treatment via Telehealth. As such, it is recommended that providers give patients a Telehealth consent form and take time to review it with them. In some circumstances, a written consent form cannot be sent and/ or signed by the patient. If so, clinicians are encouraged to read the content of their consent form to the patient, answer any questions, and document accordingly in the patient’s record.
The following is a sample Telehealth Consent Form that CAMFT members may utilize in their practice or alter as they deem appropriate for their clientele. Members may access the editable Word document and relevant Telehealth information on the CAMFT website, www.camft.org.
Ann Tran-Lien, JD, is a staff attorney and the Managing Director of Legal Affairs at CAMFT. Ann is available to answer member calls regarding legal, ethical, and licensure issues.
Sample Telehealth Consent Form
California law does not require written consent from a patient to engage in Telehealth, but it does require therapists to obtain verbal consent. Therapists who prefer to obtain verbal consent from the patient or are unable to obtain a physical signature on their Consent Form prior to offering Telehealth services may consider e-mailing/sending the form to the patient at the outset of treatment, reviewing the content with the patient, and documenting consent in the patient’s record, e.g., “e-mailed consent form to patient, reviewed with patient, and patient understands and agrees to all terms.” The following sample is offered as a resource for members who prefer to utilize a written consent form. This document is provided for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.
1 B&P Code §2290.5(a)(6). “Telehealth” means the mode of delivering health care services and public health via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care. Telehealth facilitates patient self-management and caregiver support for patients and includes synchronous interactions and asynchronous store and forward transfers.
2 16 CCR §1815(c).
This article is not intended to serve as legal advice and is offered for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for independent legal advice and it is not intended to address every situation that could potentially arise. Please be aware that laws, regulations and technical standards change over time. As a result, it is important to verify and update any reference or information that is provided in this article.