Online Therapy or Telehealth

Telehealth for Eating Disorders [Image description: Dr. Muhlheim pictured doing telehealth]During the COVID-19 pandemic, we moved our entire practice to telehealth. We will continue to offer telehealth even after we return to the office.

We are pleased to provide telehealth to patients in California, New York, and Florida. We provide telehealth for all eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). We also provide treatment for anxiety and depression.

Read this page to learn more about telehealth and how it works.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is the term used to describe therapy that occurs over a live video connection, allowing you and your therapist to see each other and speak in real-time. Other terms sometimes used include online therapy, teletherapy, telemedicine, video mental health, or video therapy.

Traditionally therapy has occurred in a therapist’s office. Telehealth allows therapy to occur over the internet from your own home, workplace, or other secure location. This is ideal for situations in which patients are unable to travel to a therapist’s office, there are no local treatment options, or there is a risk of transmission of a contagious illness. It can also be convenient for patients unable to leave the office during a workday, those without transportation, or those for whom mobility is limited.

Is Telehealth Effective for Eating Disorders?

Did you know that telehealth has been around since the 1950s? It is private, safe, acceptable, and has been shown to be effective—and, with fast internet speeds and better technology, it is an even better experience. Research shows that telehealth is effective for a number of mental health problems and most patients find it acceptable.

The two main treatments we provide for eating disorders—Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for adults and Family-Based Treatment (FBT) for adolescents—are both well-suited to be provided online. While there are limited treatment studies, research seems to indicate that both CBT and FBT conducted by telehealth are effective and obtain similar results to therapy conducted in the office.

How Online Sessions Are Conducted

We use a HIPAA-compliant encrypted video conferencing system called Doxy. Your clinician will provide you a link to their online therapy room. You do not need to download any software. A few minutes before the scheduled appointment log in to Doxy and you will enter your clinician’s virtual waiting room. Authorize your computer’s audio and video and wait for your therapist to admit you.

Insurance Coverage for Telehealth

We charge the same rates for telehealth as in-person. Further information about our fees and insurance coverage is here. Not all insurers cover telehealth sessions. And not all insurance carriers cover telehealth at the same level that they do in-office sessions.

For example, some insurers, carve out their telehealth benefits to a different provider network. Some of these insurers have issued temporary waivers due to the pandemic. Some employers may opt-out of these waivers. Thus, it is important to check with your insurance carrier and specifically ask if your insurance covers telehealth sessions with their usual behavioral health network and if there is an end date for this coverage.

To check with your insurer, you can ask if video therapy is covered. You will want to ask about the location code of “02” and procedural code modifiers of “GT” or “95.”

What You Need to Know About Video Therapy

Please ensure you have a private, safe, and quiet location from where to conduct your session. Do not attempt to have therapy while you are driving. You will need a computer or smartphone with a camera and a microphone. We advise the use of earphones to protect your privacy from people who may be nearby. Try to make sure you have a strong internet connection. Keeping virus protection software and other software up to date offers further privacy protection. We recommend checking your technology before an initial session and will require you to provide emergency information to your therapist in the event that your connection is disrupted during a crisis.

Please turn off alerts on your phone or computer so they do not interrupt the session. You may also want to turn off “assistant” devices (such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home) so they do not record and disseminate confidential information.