Coronavirus Update, June 6: Telepsychology and Phone Support

This page will be revised to show my current policy. 

To all of my clients:

As of today, Clark County has entered Phase 2 of its reopening plan. People at higher risk are advised to remain home and stay healthy through Phase 3, and even at Phase 4, we are advised to practice physical distancing and hygiene practices. I am an older adult with pre-existing health conditions, so, to ensure safety and provide needed support, I am offering only telepsychology for now and don’t expect to return to in-person office visits until there’s effective treatment or an available and proven vaccine.

Third party payers have significantly loosened telepsychology restrictions for the time being. As business activities reopen, they may return to prior restrictions on telepsychology. I am watching this evolving situation, especially with regard to Medicare and WA state health directives. Please stay informed about your own insurer’s coverage and contact me if you have any concerns.

I am offering telepsychology through a secure service, doxy.me. If unable to connect through that platform, regulations have been loosened for now to allow video sessions via your smartphone, computer or tablet and a variety of platforms. Some, such as Google Meetings and VSEE, are already HIPAA-compliant (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Some third-party payers allow phone calls, but I recommend staying with video if at all possible.

Video calls require a device with a camera and microphone and a fast enough internet connection. I these video sessions, we are very much able to see and hear each other. If you have difficulty making the connection, I will do my best to guide you through setting up the video call capability and will initiate the session by sending an email or phone link before we start. Since telepsychology can run into technical glitches, please be prepared to contact me by phone or text at (415) 271-2350 to re-establish the video call.

Supporting established clients in OR via teletherapy

As of April 13, 2020, I can provide continuity of care to established clients residing in Oregon via teletherapy as an Emergency Visiting Psychologist. The Oregon permit expires September 26, 2020.

If you are an established client and are feeling overwhelmed, please contact me at (415) 271-2350. I want to help, but this is not a 24 hour/7 day crisis line. If you can’t reach me in a timely manner, contact the Clark County Crisis Hotline at 800.626.8137. For life-threatening emergencies or situations requiring an immediate on-scene response, please dial 911. 

If you try to call or text and I don’t get back to you by late in the day, please try again. Although such contacts are usually reliable,  the call or text may not have gone through. You can also email me at drgarys@drgaryseeman.com for routine logistical communications that don’t reveal your protected health information. Information sent this way may not be secure. I also offer encrypted email at drgary@hushmail.com, which meets HIPAA security requirements.

Here is the link to the CDC’s information website. It answers most of your questions. I am available to support you through the many challenges the pandemic will put us through.