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RULE §801.58Technology-Assisted Services

(a) Licensees who provide marriage and family therapy to clients or supervision to supervisees outside the State of Texas must comply with the laws and rules of Texas and of the out-of-state authority which govern the practice of marriage and family therapy.

(b) Licensees who provide treatment, consultation, and supervision using technology-assisted services must meet the same standards of appropriate practice as licensees who practice in traditional (i.e., in-person) settings.

(c) In accordance with Texas Occupations Code, §502.251 (relating to License Required), a person may not practice as a marriage and family therapist unless the person holds a license under this chapter or is exempt under Texas Occupations Code, §502.004 (relating to Application of Chapter).

(d) A licensee may provide technology-assisted services. To ensure the competent delivery of services by technology-assisted means, a licensee must maintain an appropriate level of education, training, or experience in using relevant technology.

(e) A licensee may not render therapy using technology-assisted services without complying with the following at the onset of each session:

  (1) fully verifying the location and identity of the client, to the most reasonable extent possible; and

  (2) disclosing the identity of the licensee.

(f) Before providing technology-assisted services, a licensee must determine whether a client is a minor. Upon determining that a client is a minor, and before providing technology-assisted services, a licensee must obtain required consent from a parent or guardian and must verify the identity of the parent, guardian, or other person consenting to the minor's treatment.

(g) The licensee must determine if technology-assisted service is an appropriate delivery of treatment or supervision, considering the professional, intellectual, or emotional needs of the client or supervisee.

(h) Informed consent must include, at a minimum, information that defines electronic service delivery as practiced by the licensee and the potential risks and ethical considerations. The licensee must obtain and maintain written or electronic evidence documenting appropriate client informed consent for the use of technology-assisted services. The licensee must ensure that the informed consent complies with other informed consent requirements in this chapter and must include the following:

  (1) identification of the client, the therapist, and the therapist's credentials;

  (2) list of services provided by the licensee using technology-assisted services;

  (3) client agreement that the therapist determines on an on-going basis whether the condition being assessed or treated is appropriate for technology-assisted services;

  (4) details on security measures taken with the use of technology-assisted services, as well as potential risks to privacy notwithstanding such measures;

  (5) information regarding secure protocols and back-up plans in case of technical failure;

  (6) the licensee's credentials or training to engage in technology-assisted services, and contact information;

  (7) risks and benefits of engaging in the use of technology;

  (8) emergency procedures to follow when the therapist is not available;

  (9) information collected and any passive tracking mechanisms used;

  (10) third-party websites or services used by the licensee to facilitate technology-assisted services; and

  (11) an explanation of how records are maintained electronically, including encryption type and record security, and the archival storage period for transaction records.

(i) Therapists who use technology-assisted services must meet or exceed applicable federal and state legal requirements of health information privacy, including compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191; The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, 42 U.S.C. Chapter 156, Subchapter III; Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 181 (relating to Medical Records Privacy); and state privacy, confidentiality, and security rules.

Source Note: The provisions of this §801.58 adopted to be effective October 5, 2020, 45 TexReg 7024; amended to be effective September 21, 2022, 47 TexReg 5857

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