Telehealth Guidelines for Service Providers | Ohio Department of Education – Ohio Department of Education

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One of Ohio's top priorities is to support the mental health and well-being of all Ohio's students. Ohio Department of Education licensed providers deliver mental and behavioral health services to both students with disabilities and general education students. Additionally, schools may partner with healthcare providers and community organizations to deliver these services to students.
Another priority is to ensure students with disabilities identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) not only receive the educational services specified in their individualized education programs (IEPs), but also appropriate related services. Related services include, but are not necessarily limited to, those provided by a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, educational audiologist, school psychologist, school nurse or school social worker. These services may also be provided to students who are in a response to intervention (RTI) process or receiving interventions.
As the 2021-2022 school year progresses, schools continue to consider how to provide related services, mental and behavioral health services to meet students' needs, virtually or otherwise. For the purposes of this webpage, virtual related services, mental and behavioral health services will be referred to collectively as telehealth services.
On December 14, 2021, Governor DeWine signed Senate Bill 229 of the 134th  General Assembly. Section 3(H) of this new law permits all school providers to use telehealth for the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year.
This information provided here answers commonly asked questions regarding the provision of telehealth services. It is intended to help school and district leaders and providers as they consider these options at the local level.
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In considering telehealth options, it is essential to review important resources that explain the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) laws and how they may apply to telehealth services, as well as the coronavirus (COVID-19) compliance updates to ensure student and family privacy is protected.   
HIPAA may apply to children who receive services from health care providers (including related service providers with professional board licenses). See HIPAA and COVID-19.  
FERPA protects the privacy of a student’s education records and applies to all public and private educational institutions that receive federal funds for programs, including the IDEA. See Protecting Student Privacy – COVID-19 and Virtual Learning Resources
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No. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) continues to temporarily allow the use of applications that are not fully HIPAA compliant. However, only non-public communication platforms may be used for telehealth. These platforms are designed only to allow intended parties to communicate, the initiator of the conversation and the intended receiver(s). Schools may use many commercially available platforms including remote video communication products such as Facebook Messenger video, Google Hangouts video, WhatsApp video chat and Apple FaceTime.
Be aware that the use of public-facing communication products such as Slack, Facebook Live, Twitch and TikTok is prohibited as they do not have sufficient privacy protections and are designed to be open to the public. See HIPAA Compliance and COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Schools should make every effort to use platforms that are HIPAA compliant. In addition, service providers should check with their professional licensure boards for any requirements to use encrypted platforms. The Department does not endorse or recommend any platform, but the following platforms represent that they are HIPAA compliant:
Given the continued presence of COVID-19, rules may continue to change. See the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Information Privacy webpage for updates.
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NoFERPA protects the privacy of students’ personally identifiable information in their education records and applies to all public and private educational institutions that receive federal funds for programs, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). See the Student Privacy Policy Office’s Letter to Mamas on classroom observation which is also applicable to virtual classrooms.
Because FERPA applies to educational records, service providers must take care not to discuss a student’s educational records or allow such records to be visible in a way that other students, parents or other persons could view them. However, providing services to students in groups via telehealth would not be a violation of FERPA, unless a student’s education records were discussed or viewed.
Service providers must take care to provide services from a secure location that will not be interrupted by others walking into the room and maintain confidentiality using secure remote access to electronic documentation and records See FERPA and Virtual Learning Related Resources March 2020.
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Yes. The Ohio Department of Education requires related service providers, mental and behavioral health providers to follow the requirements of their respective Ohio board licenses.
The Ohio Department of Education Operating Standards (administrative regulations for special education) and Ohio Administrative Code  3301-51-09(H)(2) state that related services personnel must have qualifications under the Ohio Department of Education that are “consistent with state-approved or state-recognized certification, licensing, registration,…” and that the Ohio Department of Education must “ensure that related services personnel who deliver services in their discipline or profession meet the requirements and have not had certification or licensure requirements waived…”   
School psychologists who are licensed by the Ohio Department of Education and not necessarily by the State Psychology Board may provide services to students using telehealth options. The consultations that Ohio Department of Education-licensed school psychologists perform are vital in maintaining the continuity of services for Ohio’s students with disabilities or those suspected of having disabilities.
Given the continued presence of COVID, Ohio’s telehealth rules may continue to change. For specific questions regarding up-to-date telehealth rules, providers should reach out to their respective professional licensure boards directly.
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Yes. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services amended a rule to expand and enhance telehealth options. The rule relaxes regulations so more Ohioans, including students, can access mental and behavioral health services safely in their homes. The rule affects Ohio Department of Education-licensed providers and other mental and behavioral health care providers who may normally serve students in the school building or community. For more information, see the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ coronavirus information webpage and the interactive videoconferencing rule.
Given the continued presence of COVID-19, rules regarding the provision of mental and behavioral health services via telehealth may continue to evolve. See the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ coronavirus information webpage for updates.
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Last Modified: 2/14/2022 8:06:24 AM
Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction
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[email protected]
Charlotte McGuire, President
The Ohio Department of Education is an equal opportunity employer and provider of ADA services.

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