About the Telebehavioral Health Institute

History of TBHI

The Telebehavioral Health Institute, Inc. (TBHI) was formed in 2009 as the TeleMental Health Institute, Inc. by Dr. Maheu with contributing volunteer support by Drs. Myron Pulier and Joseph McMenamin. In 2010, TBHI opened its eLearning telebehavioral health learning center to professional colleagues seeking continuing education training in telebehavioral health. Today the center has served more than 6,300 behavioral health and service professionals from over  60 countries with professional training, certification, staffing and consultation.

Our Founders

Dr. Maheu has been a leader in telebehavioral health since 1994. She started her online experience as the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of SelfhelpMagazine, an online portal that was  an award-winning, peer-reviewed publication holding contributions from thousands of mental health professionals worldwide. It was selected by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as the only recipient of funding to showcase behavioral health technology during President Clinton’s 1997 inauguration. Dr. Maheu is currently the Executive Director of the Telebehavioral Health Institute, where professionals of all behavioral disciplines can earn more than 84 hours of highly specialized continuing education in telebehavioral health (CE units approved by the American Psychological Association, the National Board of Certified Counselors, NAADAC; CME approved by the American Medical Association). Dr. Maheu is a leader in telebehavioral health, telemental health, distance counseling and online therapy. She has consulted with large health and mental health insurance companies, community clinics, physician groups, universities, technology companies and independent practitioners. She has been the lead author of five text books in telebehavioral health, is currently contracted to write another for graduate students, and speaks internationally on the topics of legal and ethical issues in telepractice using various technologies. She has written dozens of peer-reviewed articles. For a link leading to her full citations, see her bibliography page, here. Dr. Maheu is also the President and CEO of the Coalition for Technology in Behavioral Science (CTiBS), which has developed and published the industry’s first consensus-driven, evidence-based competencies for telebehavioral health. As the co-founder of the group, she has overseen its development since 2010 and contracted/shepherded the Journal for Technology in Behavioral Science (JTIBS).

Our Advisory Board and Management Team

  • Dena Puskin, ScD.
  • Rene Quashie, JD
  • Kenneth Drude, Ph.D.
  • Shawna Wright, Ph.D.
  • Marc Horowitz

Our Story

TBHI was founded by Drs. Maheu, Pulier and McMenamin in 2009 after over a decade of collaborative work in behavioral telehealth as a writing team dedicated to documenting the telebehavioral and telebehavioral health evidence base in textbook form. Their shared passion was to identify what works in behavioral telehealth and spread the word to their colleagues. When eLearning platforms became cost effective, Dr. Maheu invested her own resources to bootstrap the building of the Institute. She has also led two writing teams to publish telehealth-related textbooks for which she had successfully negotiated the copyright. Dr. Maheu, Pulier and McMenamin then set about to condense the printed materials of those previously written textbooks into coursework that could be accessed 24/7 through the www.devel.telehealth.org eLearning platform.

Our Mission Statement

To enable behavioral services through evidence-based clinical practices related to the legal and ethical use of technology.

Our Objectives, Goals, and Timelines

Although growth has been steady, TBHI is interested in pursuing additional market segments, specifically professional associations, medical health practitioners, government agencies and graduate programs in behavioral health programs.  

Beneficiaries and Our Services

TBHI is devoted exclusively to addressing the emerging opportunities and challenges of telebehavioral health, telemental health, digital health, telepsychiatry, telepsychology, distance counseling, online therapy and coaching. Beneficiaries include mental health students, professionals, their staff and trickle down through them to consumers. TBHI offers convenient access to education and training courses for continuing education and continuing medical education credit.

Local and Global Issues You Can Help Us Address

According to the National Institute of Health, one in four Americans  suffers from a diagnosable mental illness in a given year. The need for quality behavioral services exists, and today’s practitioners can use technology to enable their practices, if they are educated in the proper methodology.

Barriers to Increased Use of Telebehavioral Health Services

  • Licensure laws exist at the state rather than national level.  These laws prohibit out of state clinicians from providing clinical services in states in which they are not licensed to practice.  Recent federal law changes now permit licensed clinicians to provide services nationwide for military personnel, but this does not expand to the non-military population.
  • Access to appropriate computer hardware, software and high speed network connectivity.  This barrier currently is being addressed in many areas.  However, it will remain a barrier in certain geographical areas for the next decade or more.  
  • Evidence-based protocols for delivery of telebehavioral health services are not yet understood or accepted by professionals or graduate training institutions. Only a small subset of licensed clinicians has received any training on how to effectively provide clinical services through telemedicine.  Professional training programs have not yet addressed this in their curriculum.  Professional training programs are not yet teaching successful telebehavioral health treatment models, or legal/ethical risk management.
  • There currently is no national network that can link competent clinicians with telebehavioral skills to areas of need.  This applies both to delivery of direct clinical services as well as to collaboration with local clinicians.
  • The reimbursement models and processes required to pay for the telebehavioral health services have been minimally developed and implemented for use in the civilian sector.  This has been addressed for military personnel and care provided through the Veterans Administration.  

TBHI proposes solutions to these barriers:

Creation and use of a database for a nationwide network of competent telemedicine practitioners who have been professionally vetted to be:
    • Appropriately trained and have demonstrated competency in the process of delivering telebehavioral health services;
    • Available to provide services within specified timeframes through telehealth technology.
Development and use of proprietary protocols and metrics for providing high quality telehealth and telemedicine services.  These protocols will address access, user experience, and most importantly clinical outcomes.  

The Vast Population of Mental Health Professionals Needs Training

There are approximately 700,000 licensed physicians in the United States. Depending on the estimate, there are from 750,000 to 1,300,000 licensed mental health professionals in the United States.The typical mental health professional in the United States is an average of 50 years or older, is female, and holds at least a Master’s level degree and a salary of between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. More than 99% of them will hold at least one professional license. While some have licenses in multiple states, the majority of professionals hold a license in only one state, which is their state of residence. Psychiatrists are dwindling in number in all medical professionals. The vast majority of mental health professionals are master’s level social workers who work for medical facilities, clinics, community mental health clinics, social service agencies, or are in private practice. Psychologists and counselors work in a variety of settings, from academia to schools, clinics, hospitals, employe assistance programs, or in speciality disciplines such as industrial/organizational psychology and private practice. Many mental health professionals are employees of mental health service companies and also conduct a small private practice for a portion of their work hours.

Practitioners Need Education on Health Care Reform & Telehealth

Practitioners need to be prepared for the massive changes that will result from the current uncertainty about health care reform. At the time of this writing in the United States, strong bipartisan support exists in Congress for telehealth in spite of serious unrest on many other healthcare fronts. Regardless of the existing turmoil, telehealth will fundamentally redefine how behavioral health professionals deal with patients. Payments will be based on outcomes, which will significantly impact the financial bottom line, making it especially difficult for traditional behavioral health professionals to manage. These changes will transform the industry. Regardless of these currently changes underfoot, a telehealth workforce that is educated in basic telemental health and telebehavioral health basic competencies  will be better prepared for the changes to come.

International Need for Practitioners to Address Behavioral Issues 

Despite the seemingly large numbers of healthcare professionals, there is a shortage of trained mental health clinicians in many parts of the United States.  This shortage is expected to intensify over the next several years due to several factors:
  • The trained workforce rapidly is aging and professional training programs are not keeping pace with the replacement needs which are expected to emerge over the next decade
  • More individuals are seeking care as the stigma associated with receiving treatment has eased
  • Federal legislation (The Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act of 2008) has increased the scope of insurance coverage for mental health and addictions conditions, as well as the number of Americans who will be insured.  Demand for services increases as insurance coverage increases.  
The shortage of trained mental health clinicians is most severe in rural and frontier areas.  Many of these communities lack a single trained clinician.  In the vast majority of these areas, specialties such as psychiatry are not available. Child psychiatry is often impossible to obtain for vast rural and frontier areas. The shortages also are felt in areas that are experiencing large episodic increases in demand, caused by natural disasters or by tragedies such as terrorism and mass killings.  

Practitioners Need Education about Health Care Reform

Practitioners need to be prepared for the huge changes that will result from the health care reform laws. For example, HCR will fundamentally redefine how mental health professionals deal with patients, and payments will be based on outcomes, which will significantly impact the financial bottom line, and are especially hard for mental health professionals to meet. These changes will be hard on the industry and an educated workforce will be better prepared for the changes to come.

What Our Trainees Are Saying

You will see below commentaries from professionals/trainees who have taken TBHI’s online trainings. To view more, please visit this page.
“The program has afforded me flexibility with my practice, giving me confidence in technology while providing me with opportunities to restructure my private practice. I am in pre-retirement and am in the office Monday-Wednesday. Thursday is a virtual day and I have a three day weekend. I travel and teach workshops on spirituality and psychology using the Wizard of Oz and the Handless Maiden, thus I have begun to schedule my clients for video conferencing while I am away from the office. It has been great experience for me. Plus, many of my clients are in the maintenance phase and it allows them to do fifteen minute or half-hour sessions from home and not have to commute to the office. I have gleaned many marketing ideas as I retool my practice for pre-retirement life.” -Robin Dilley, PhD Not only have I learned about the elements of telemental health, your presentation of the subject is also reinforcing principles of quality and ethical service delivery regardless of delivery modality. Your humor is so engaging it is actually enjoyable to listen to the material.” -Kathleen Judy, MS, LPCC  “So convenient to find everything I need in one place.”  -Bonnie Johnson, LCP  “I’m very impressed with the speakers that you brought together for the Summit. They have a wealth of experience and expertise to share with us. In fact, my only issue is that it’s hard to make the time to listen to all of these great resources. I’m still working my way through them.” -Margaretha Hoek, MA  “I am learning so much from this experience with TBHI.”  -Sandra Eberhardt, Ph.D. “Thank you TBH Institute for your current and necessary information for practitioners in today’s global behavioral healthcare fields…” -Ellen Skogsberg  “Your mobile-compatible training website is very nice and user friendly!”  -Dianna Bruno, Ph.D. “Again, my appreciation for what I have learned, and for the tremendous standard of excellence, knowledge and insight which you bring to our field.”  -Ellen Swallow, Ph.D.

Media Partners

Our media partners include American Telemedicine Association, the American Board of Medical Psychologists, the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, the Canadian Register of Health Service Psychologists, the Traumatology Institute, the Center for Connected Health Policy, the California Telehealth Network, GoodTherapy.org, Parent-Child Interactive.com, Forefront Telecare, TherapySites,  Arizona State University and many more groups. See our partner page here.

Present Sponsors & Partners

Below are TBHI’s Sponsors and Partners. Please visit the main page to know more.

About Telebehavioral Health Institute

About Telehealth Institute

Telehealth Institute (TI) is a Wyoming-based non-profit, 501(3)(c) that is a sister-organization to TBHI. The Institute is designed to research and develop evidence-based training materials and resources. It offers free webinars to the behavioral professional community.    The mailing address for both TBHI and TI is:

5173 Waring Road, #124

San Diego, CA 92120

 
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