Online Diagnostic Standards

Prevent ESA Fraud, in conjunction with Mental Health Practitioners and practicing attorneys, has formulated on-line diagnostic standards for websites that offer Emotional Support Animals consultations. If a website ignores any of these standards, then the website is determined to be unethical and potentially fraudulent.

1. Any diagnosis obtained through a consult arranged through the website shall come from a currently licensed mental health professional.

2. Any letter from any mental health professional (hereinafter “MHP”) shall come from an MHP licensed by the state in which the patient is physically located. It is a violation of state law for an MHP to diagnose and/or treat a client if the MHP is not licensed in the state in which the client is physically located, subjects the MHP to adverse disciplinary and/or criminal action, and makes any letter issued by the MHP to the client illegal during the normal evaluation process.

3. The consult between the MHP and the patient shall be personal, meaningful, and sufficient to meet all applicable state standards for establishing a client/patient relationship, which include complying with all state teletherapy laws and/or requirements.

4. No diagnosis shall be based solely upon the MHP’s reading and/or interpretation of an online form submitted by the purported client. Such online forms are NOT personal, meaningful or sufficient to meet applicable state standards for establishing a client/patient relationship.

5. No diagnosis shall be made without significant personal audio and/or video communication (as required by state teletherapy laws and/or requirements) between the MHP and the client.

6. MHP shall establish that the patient is under the MHP’s professional care and requires an ongoing relationship. An ongoing relationship requires a minimum of two scheduled appointments.

7. The MHP shall be available to complete additional forms for the client should a landlord, condo association, or other similar person or entity require them.

8. The website shall not discriminate against clients who are seeking a reasonable accommodation from a college or university.

9. The website shall NOT mislead the client with regard to his/her rights and responsibilities under Federal or state law. The website shall not falsely state that any registration is required to establish or assert any right under the law. The website shall not misrepresent to clients that an ESA’s rights exceed rights established under the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.

10. The website shall provide a phone number that clients may use to speak to a representative of the company during normal business hours.