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Mental Health Care through Telehealth

Mike, who lives in Des Moines, Iowa, had never “seen” a doctor through telehealth before. But when his anxiety and depression worsened at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided it was time to go back on the anti-depressant medication that he’d stopped taking the previous year.

At that point, however, most mental health practices had already stopped seeing patients in person due to the pandemic. As he looked into telehealth options, Mike realized that remote visits gave him a new opportunity—to find a provider outside the Des Moines area.

“I’d seen a psychiatrist here in Des Moines a few years ago but was never 100% happy with the care. I’d looked around a bit but wasn’t able to find a different provider in the area who I wanted to see.

“But with telehealth, I can see anyone in the state of Iowa,” he continued. “So I did some online research, talked to a few friends and found Dr. Giuliani at Psychiatric Associates in Iowa City.”

The Psychiatric Associates staff walked Mike through the process of getting set up with the VSee app, which is HIPAA-compliant and secure. “Getting started was easy,” Mike explained. “And now that I’m up and running with the app, seeing my Psychiatric Associates provider—who’s based in North Liberty—while I’m in Des Moines is great. I really can’t imagine going back to face-to-face appointments for this type of care.”

Available to all Iowa residents

The Iowa Board of Medicine allows licensed Iowa physicians—including psychiatrists—to provide care via telehealth to Iowa residents. Similarly, the Iowa Board of Psychology and the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science allow licensed psychologists and other licensed mental health care professionals, respectively, to provide therapy via telehealth to residents of Iowa.

Usually covered by insurance

Telemedicine is typically covered by insurance. And some insurance companies are currently waiving copays for telehealth services.

Psychiatric Associates accepts most insurance plans. As with all healthcare, it’s a good idea to confirm coverage with your insurance provider.

No referral needed

Psychiatric Associates doesn’t require a referral from another provider. Most insurance plans don’t require referrals, either (but please double-check with your insurance company to make sure).

Tips for successful telehealth visits

Keep these suggestions in mind to get the most out of your mental health care “virtual visit.”

  • Find the right place. Pick a private, quiet setting for your visit.
  • Minimize distractions (including yourself). One way to do this is by hiding your front camera view. Also, consider silencing other notifications to avoid interruptions from other phone calls, texts or apps.
  • Keep your video device stable. If you plan to use your phone as your video device, set it on a stable surface and point it at your face. Stay in one place during the call.
  • Check the lighting. Try to have lights in front of you, not behind you.
  • Set aside a few minutes after the call. Give yourself time to process the conversation afterwards.
  • Check the technology ahead of time. This will help you avoid wasting time trying to connect during your appointment time.

To make an appointment

Psychiatric Associates accepts new patients from anywhere in Iowa via telehealth. Use the search feature at the top of the Our Providers page to find the right provider for your needs. Then request an appointment online or by calling us at 319-356-6352.

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