DHS COVID-19 PROVIDER RESOURCES // OMHSAS
Guidelines for the Delivery of IBHS and BHRS Group Services
Effective: May 5, 2020; Issued: May 5, 2020
Please note the below are intended to be guidelines and may not be appropriate for
every scenario. If the group services to be provided through telehealth will not fall
within the guidelines set forth below, please include an explanation as to why telehealth
is an appropriate method to deliver group services in the proposal you are submitting
with the attestation form as explained in bulletin OMHSAS-20-02 “Guidelines for the Use
of Telehealth Technology in the Delivery of Behavioral Health Services” issued
February 20, 2020 and OMHSAS memorandum “Telehealth Guidelines Related to
COVID-19” issued May 5, 2020.
- When group services are being delivered to children 3 to 5 years old, each child should
have a caregiver participate during the provision of services.
- When group services are being delivered to children 6 to 9 years old, a caregiver should
observe each child during provision of services.
- When group services are being delivered to children ages 10 to 13 years old, any child that
may need a caregiver during the provision of services should have a caregiver available.
- When group services are being delivered to youth 14 years old or older, any youth that may
need a caregiver during the provision of services should have a caregiver available.
- All children or youth that participate in group services should be verbal or have the ability to
functionally communicate when interacting with other group members.
- The size of the group should be limited to the number of participants the lead staff person
can effectively manage in an interactive manner and no group should be larger than six participants.
- Group sessions should be led by a graduate level professional (an individual who provides
mobile therapy, behavior specialist consultant, behavior specialist consultant-autism
spectrum disorder, behavior consultation, behavior analytic, or behavior consultationapplied behavior analysis (ABA) services).
- Group services should usually be provided for 30 minutes and should not be longer than
one hour per session.
- Group services may not be provided using only the telephone.
- Group services should be delivered using audio-video technology which allows for two-way,
real-time interactive communication among the participants in the group services.
- Note that if a child or youth does not have audio-video capability, the child or youth may
benefit from 1:1 service provision. The provider should consult the guidelines below
that address delivery of therapeutic staff support, behavioral health technician,
behavioral health technician-ABA and assistant behavior consultation-ABA services
- Non-public facing technology such as Facebook Live where anyone with a link or access to
a page would be able to join the group, may not be used to provide services through
- Group services that rely on social cueing and fluency may not be appropriate due to the
inability to observe social cueing and fluency through telehealth.
- Note that if group services cannot be delivered effectively, the child or youth may benefit
from 1:1 service provision which would allow the clinician to focus on caregiver
consultation or training regarding implementation of the individual treatment plan and
targeting the skills usually addressed through group services.