Why Continuing Telehealth Insurance Benefits is Critical for the Future of Mental Health

35

By Dr. Christopher Taylor, Ph.D. LPC-S 

Who would have thought over the past year the world had to transform into a virtual reality for us to hold on to a sense of community and normalcy. Each and every one of us had to adapt to a new routine, and for most of us, that included connecting with others through a screen. Our technology became an even larger part of our daily routines and our staff at Taylor Counseling Group had to change the way we serve our communities to fit this new reality.

Many fields, including counseling, had to quickly pivot our services online at the start of the pandemic. Covid-19 brought a lot of uncertainty and change, but I knew telehealth would help us bring the best services and support for our clients during this time. 

I realized that in order to be successful during the pandemic we needed to embrace change, disruption and technology. Luckily, Taylor Counseling Group was able to switch our services from in-person to telehealth literally overnight. The pandemic has expedited the merge of technology and healthcare, and is ripe for continued disruption in the years to come. 

Taylor Counseling Group saw our telehealth sessions rise to 100% of our company’s total during the height of the pandemic. I knew I had to make telehealth a normal service we can offer to best serve our clients moving forward.  I plan to invest long term in advancing technological infrastructure for the delivery of our counseling services for our clients.  

It’s critical to increase access to mental healthcare, and telehealth is a great tool for that. I hope insurance companies are encouraged to lead the charge in telehealth and continuing these benefits. Especially with the popularity of virtual appointments throughout the pandemic, insurance providers should view teletherapy as the same service clients receive in-office.

We urge insurance companies to realize the benefits of this life changing system for patients and companies all around the world. People have adapted to their screens, and there will be resistance to reverting the healthcare system to how it operated pre-Covid. Technology such as telehealth is an important tool to increase access to care and expand opportunities for healthcare providers to support those in need. 

After more than a year of using this technology and conducting more than 30,000 sessions, with approximately half via telehealth, I know firsthand the importance of telehealth access and why insurance providers need to continue offering these benefits. Patients need to be taken care of however they feel most comfortable, and that can very well be through telehealth. The pandemic established a way forward for expanding access to therapy and helping individuals support their mental health. Insurance providers play a pivotal role in giving their members the flexibility and access to receive counseling services in the format that serves them best. 

Dr. Christopher Taylor Bio

Christopher S. Taylor, Ph.D. LPC-S, author of My Digital Practice and host of the For Self-Examination podcast, is an adjunct professor of counseling ethics at Dallas Theological Seminary and Amberton University. Dr. Taylor utilizes existential psychotherapy to provide treatment for individuals struggling with loss of identity. In 2015, he was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve on the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors as a professional member, and was reappointed to continue serving on the board in 2021. In 2018, he was unanimously voted as Vice-Chair of the board.

Dr. Taylor founded Taylor Counseling Group in 2015 with a mission to provide affordable, accessible and reliable mental health services. Taylor Counseling Group was founded on five core values: Affordable Care, Transformational Change, Collaborative Growth, Community Support and Human Capital. With 9 locations in Dallas, Galleria Dallas, Coppell, Southlake, Fort Worth, Waxahachie, Houston Memorial Park, The Woodlands and San Antonio, the affordable counseling provider has plans for rapid growth throughout Texas. 

Working with various state and private organizations such as Child Protective Services since 2008, Dr. Taylor has experienced the lack of community support for broken homes in both urban and rural communities. In an endeavor to alleviate this issue, Dr. Taylor served as the court coordinator and program developer for Legacy Family Court in Dallas County from 2013 to 2016. In 2015, Legacy Family Court was recognized as “An Agent of Change” by the Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse and was awarded an official resolution by Dallas County. In 2016, the Agricultural Commissioner appointed Dr. Taylor to serve on the Rural Health Task Force to assist in developing solutions for the expansion of mental health programs in rural Texas communities. 

Dr. Taylor completed his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a concentration in existentialism at Texas A&M University. He continues to research and write on the subject of identity and existential development.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.