Telemental Health Resources
In the light of the COVID-19 (Coronaviruses) Emergency
By Zur Institute
TeleMental Health Online CE Courses & Certificate:
FREE SAMPLE INFORMED CONSENT FOR TELEPSYCHOLOGY (See the top/right side of the page)
- Provided by the Trust – The Trust Practice and Risk Management Association (TrustPARMA)
- Offers free sample telemental health informed consent form; downloadable booklet of telemental health practice checklists; webinar discussing telehealth quick start steps and maintaining standard of care; list of free resources/articles
- Helpful website and guide to taking on insurance clients
- CAMFT has posted: Overview of HIPAA considerations for implementing Telehealth, as well as options for HIPAA compliant Telehealth platforms
- CAMFT-provided list of CPT codes
In October, 2019, Gavin Newsom signed AB 744, which mandates parity for telehealth: With Newsom’s signature on AB 744, which mandates that payers reimburse healthcare providers for telehealth services “on the same basis and to the same extent” as they cover in-person services, California becomes one of roughly a dozen states to require payment parity. The concept has in the past been contested by payers who would prefer the freedom to negotiate specific coverage rates with healthcare providers.
- HIPAA announcement that during the COVID-19 national emergency, covered health care providers subject to the HIPAA Rules may seek to communicate with patients, and provide telehealth services, through remote communications technologies, while recognizing that some of these technologies, and the manner in which they are used by HIPAA covered health care providers, may not fully comply with the requirements of the HIPAA Rules.
- Person Centered Tech has posted: HHS just announced today that they are lightening restrictions on the videoconferencing service you use to deliver telehealth services. They explicitly cite “Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype” as copacetic with emergency-time HIPAA rules. Facetime, Skype, and Facebook Messenger Video are explicitly mentioned as compatible with your HIPAA compliance for so long as the COVID-19 state of emergency is in effect.
- DMHC letter stating that all health plans shall, effective immediately, comply with specific parameters during COVID-19 health emergency.
Updates on Telehealth and Billing
- Provides synopsis of temporary changes to Medicare telehealth policies, billing codes, and private insurers
- Expanded Medicare Coverage for Audio-Only Phone Services
- DOI letter stating that insurers’ plans should maximize the use of Telehealth in all appropriate settings, reflecting the federal government’s request on March 17 that private insurers remove barriers to Telehealth, consistent with the federal government’s actions in Medicare. This includes waiving, or expediting, any network provider credentialing, certification, or pre-authorization requirements.
- Information regarding allowing Medicare to pay for office and other visits furnished via Telehealth across the country and including in patient’s places of residence starting March 6, 2020.
- FAQ’s regarding Medicare and telehealth during COVID-19 emergency
- Providers, including therapists, can bill for telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits.
- Hospitals can bill for services provided outside their four walls. New rules ensure that patients can be screened at alternate treatment and testing sites which are not subject to the Emergency Medical Labor and Treatment Act (EMTALA) as long as the national emergency remains in force. This will allow hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) to screen patients at a location offsite from the hospital’s campus to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Medicare Billing for Professional Telehealth Services During the Public Health Emergency (located down at about ¾ of page)
- Information about billing and coding for newly covered telehealth services
- List of services payable under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule when furnished via telehealth.
- CPA posts: The DCA, which oversees the operations of all licensing boards, has temporarily eased license renewal during the COVID-19 state emergency. Any licensee whose renewal date is MARCH 31-JUNE 30, 2020 will be able to renew without continuing education credits. The credits will have to be completed and reported six months after the state of emergency has been lifted. If you have completed your 36 credits, renew as you normally would, and no other action will need to be taken.
Federal & State Economic Resources For Those Impacted By COVID-19
- CPA posted resources for those whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19 (please note: CPA concurrently announced that they could not provide individual advice or consultation regarding individual situations and what relief they may qualify for)
- The state of California is seeking behavioral health care providers, among other professionals, to help with the influx of patients under the expansion of health care sites during the COVID-19 emergency. Visit and apply at link below.
Resources for Psychologists
Interim Information on COVID-19
- Webpages providing updated information for CA psychologists
- APA posts: Steps for psychologists to prepare their practices, address patient concerns and manage anxiety in their communities
- Details CPA’s advocacy on the issue of telehealth regarding COVID-19 emergency as well as links to important notices related to telehealth services
- Reviews how psychologists are affected by telehealth requirements under CMS and how to generate billing codes
- CPA discusses how both HIPAA and California law allow for limited sharing of confidential health information without patient authorization in a public health crisis
- APA posts: Psychological and neuropsychological testing and group psychotherapy can now be billed through telehealth in Medicare during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, psychologists can work from their homes and will be reimbursed by Medicare.
- APA posts: Billing and other guidance for psychologists who provide psychological and neuropsychological testing services.
- APA posts: Guidance on CPT codes, technical requirements and more for successfully providing neuropsychology services via telehealth.
How to Do Psychological Testing Via Telehealth
- APA posts: New APA guidance offers six principles for conducting tele-assessments while social distancing.
- The IOPC’s guidance for providing tele-neuropsychological care, including practice recommendations and guidelines, training and webinars, etc.
Resources for MFT’s, Social Workers & Licensed Counselors
- Topics including preparing your practice, supporting clients, telehealth, and ethical considerations
- Provides helpful resources and important information for therapists and their clients
- CAMFT has posted: Reviews most prominent considerations for therapists who want to utilize Telehealth platforms to safely continue client care
- CAMFT-provided overview of BBS regulations on standards of practice for telehealth
- Downloadable checklist/guideline for providing telehealth services
- Organization’s website for telehealth information