Telemental Health Blog Series, Part 2 of 3: Takeaways from the Brief Survey of CSB Use of Telemental Health

A note from the blog manager:

The following post is the second in a three-part series on telemental health (click here for the first installment). This post covers points of interest from a 2016 brief survey of telemental health services in Virginia Community Services Boards (CSBs). The final post will be an in-depth look at emergency telemental health programs across the country with a spotlight on interviews with telemental health experts from the University of Virginia. 

Subscribe to the Policy Blog  stay up-to-date on this series as well as our other upcoming posts!

Kathy Faris, B.A.
ILPPP Research Assistant
MPH Candidate, Class of 2019

This report is informed by a brief survey on CSB telepsychiatry activities conducted by researchers at the ILPPP in late 2016 as a follow-up to interviews with CSB Executive Directors.  Note that some of these figures may have changed since administration of the survey. 26 CSBs out of 40 total CSBs participated in the survey.


How many CSBs use telemental health for clinical services?

CSBs Using Telemental Health for Clinical Services

  • Of the 26 CSBs who completed the survey, 24 reported that they have telemental health equipment. 

  • At the time of the survey, 10 CSBs were planning on expanding their telemental health services.

    • Additionally, 3 CSBs would like to expand pending overcoming barriers such as finding willing providers and prescribing laws. 


For what service types do CSBs use telemental health?

Services for which CSBs use telemental health

  • "Other" responses include primary care, providing psychiatric services to other CSBs, and intra-agency services. 

  • General clinical services include case management, medication management appointments, therapy sessions

  • Mental health emergencies include TDO evaluations, emergency mental health


Who provides telemental health services?

CSB Providers of Telemental Health

  • 3 are currently looking for new providers of telemental health services


Why do CSBs use telemental health?

Reasons CSBs use telemental health

  • "Other" reasons CSBs use telemental health include increasing efficiency of the provision of services in jails/prisons, to communicate with magistrates/special justices for ECO/TDO processing, and to communicate with private and state hospitals.


Why do CSBs use telemental health services?

  • 12 CSBs use telemental health services to supplement their own resources with private providers or public mental health resources

  • 13 CSBs use telemental health to make resources more available (e.g. psychiatrists can meet with outlying clinics)

What are the challenges of increasing the usage of telemental health services?


Challenges of Telemental Health

Example Challenges

  • Connectivity: Connecting between sites, particularly rural areas

  • Staffing: Not enough providers and site-specific staff to manage telemental health appointments.

  • Resistance/Reluctance: Providers and site-specific staff reluctant to use telemental health

  • Equipment/Technology: Costly upgrades to equipment and equipment malfunctions

  • Prescribing Laws: These laws restrict the ability of psychiatrists to prescribe medications via telemental health

  • Billing: Billing for these services may be challenging or unavailable for some payers

  • Cost of Services: Loss of money on each visit that is not compensated for by payer reimbursement

*Glossary of terms
LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
LPC: Licensed Professional Counselor