DPA - Delaware Psychological Association

COVID-19 RESOURCES

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  • July 09, 2020 4:22 PM | Brooke Fernandez (Administrator)

    In recognition of these are challenging times, with many Delawareans experiencing fear and anxiety about their health of themselves and their loved ones along with financial stress and uncertainty. The Delaware Psychological Association has resources available on their website to support mental health as well as information about psychologists who are taking new clients, including services delivered through video conferencing. As we focus on our physical health we also need to make our mental health a priority. Here are a few suggestions:

    1.    Keep a routine. It doesn’t need to be rigidly followed, but have some type of routine that includes regular times to sleep, eat and exercise.

    2.    Get things done around the house, but only if it feels good to do so. Try not to put pressure on yourself to accomplish a great deal, but notice if it helps to feel that you are getting things done. Try to balance getting things done with time doing things just for pleasure. 

    3.    Spend time outdoors on a regular basis.

    4.    Reach out to others on a daily basis though phone calls or video chats. Think of creative ways that you can spend time with people virtually such as eating meals, watching movies, playing games or listening to music. 

    5.    Limit exposure to the news and social media if you notice it is having a negative impact on your mental health. 

    6.    Come up with a resiliency plan that incorporates some of these ideas and make changes to it as needed. 

  • July 09, 2020 3:57 PM | Brooke Fernandez (Administrator)

    Insurer Resources for COVID-19 and Telehealth

    As multiple, necessary strategies are employed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth is growing in importance as a scalable tool that can help to increase access to medical care, and to ensure the safety of the healthcare workforce, as well as protect at-risk patients.  More hospitals and healthcare providers are offering telemedicine as an alternative to in person visits.  

    With the upsweep in demand for health care related to the virus, and the urgent need to quell the spread of the disease, the insurance industry/payors are modifying policies around telehealth ─ including policies that address utilization, cost, and reimbursement.  As such DCHI’s Payment Workgroup is providing quick links to the respective payor websites dedicated to COVID-19 and telehealth.

    Thank you for all that you are doing to keep Delaware safe and healthy!

    Aetna

    COVID-19 Related Links: 

    AmeriHealth Caritas

    COVID-19 Related Links: 

    Cigna

    COVID-19 Related Links:

    Highmark BCBS

    COVID-19 Related Links:

    Highmark Health Options

    COVID-19 Related Links:

    United Healthcare

    COVID-19 Related Links:

  • July 09, 2020 3:53 PM | Brooke Fernandez (Administrator)

    A revolution has silently occurred for the provision of MH/SA services. We are essential personnel! We are routinely doing telehealth along with family doctors, physician specialists, and psychiatrists. We are able to help people who may have difficulty getting to our office. Hopefully this will help CMS, insurance companies and legislators see the necessity of treating us with the same value as those other doctoral level providers in the physician definition. The need for our services to deal with the stress, anxiety and isolation of life during a pandemic and its aftermath will only increase.  I will leave you with a link that helps you understand how much advocacy APA has done to offer guidance that helps our patients, in the interpretation of a bill translated to law, which impacts the regulation of our practice. Your input into the process, regardless of the legislation, is often necessary at many points along the way, whether it is to urge sponsorship, or to push for specific regulatory interpretations. Please consider responding when asked. It is important. Let us not loose the momentum of modernizing our practices due to necessity the pandemic has created.  

    Here is the link of all the things we can now do, which begs the question of why this should be time limited:

    https://www.apaservices.org/practice/reimbursement/government/medicare-telehealth-temporary-changes

    Take care of yourselves during this pandemic so that you can continue to help you families, friends, colleagues and clients make it through these challenging times.

    Barbara Giardina, Ph.D.

  • July 09, 2020 12:52 PM | Brooke Fernandez (Administrator)

    https://www.apaservices.org/practice/clinic/covid-19-informed-consent

    Sample informed consent form for resuming in-person services

    Psychologists transitioning back to face-to-face services may wish to protect their practice through informed consent.

    APA has created a sample informed consent form (DOC, 25KB) for psychologists who are returning to the office to provide face-to-face services with the lifting of “stay at home” restrictions. (Please see our article on important factors to consider before reopening your office for more information.)

    This document contains important safety considerations to help minimize exposure to the coronavirus, including guidance published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of possible actions nor is it meant to encourage psychologists to resume face-to-face services before they feel comfortable doing so.

    Since the state and local health authorities where you practice may have published additional guidance, you are encouraged to modify this template to fit the specific requirements of your community as well as to the needs of your practice and patients.

    This document is designed to be used in addition to your normal informed consent and business practices form — not as a substitute. You should use your normal informed consent form with clients before initiating services to cover important information (e.g. your fees, billing and collection practices, limits to confidentiality) and use this template as an addendum when patients are returning to (or starting) in-person services.

    You may also wish to consult with your malpractice insurer for additional content they may recommend.

    Disclaimer: We prepared this document to provide information to psychologists in this rapidly changing landscape. Because the law, regulations, and related information continually change, you are encouraged to monitor local, state and federal officials and update this form as necessary to stay in compliance with their guidance. Please note the date stamp on this form. Please note this document does not constitute legal advice, as APA and APA Services do not and cannot provide legal advice to our members or state associations. The information in this form should not be used as a substitute for obtaining advice from an attorney in your state.

  • May 07, 2020 2:19 PM | Kelly Wetzel (Administrator)

    HHS Extends Deadline for Attestation, Acceptance of Terms and Conditions for Provider Relief Fund Payments to 45 Days 

    The Department of Health and Human Services has extended the deadline for healthcare providers to attest to receipt of payments from the Provider Relief Fund and accept the Terms and Conditions. Providers will now have 45 days, increased from 30 days, from the date they receive a payment to attest and accept the Terms and Conditions or return the funds. As an example, the initial 30-day deadline for providers who received payment on April 10, 2020, is extended to May 24 from May 9, 2020. With the extension, not returning the payment within 45 days of receipt of payment will be viewed as acceptance of the Terms and Conditions. 

    President Trump is providing support to healthcare providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through the bipartisan CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act which provide $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. This funding will be used to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and to ensure uninsured Americans can get treatment for COVID-19.

    In allocating the funds, the Administration is working, among other things, to address both the economic harm across the entire healthcare system due to the stoppage of elective procedures, and addressing the economic impact on providers particularly impacted by COVID-19, and to do so as quickly and transparently as possible.

    Visit hhs.gov/providerrelief for more information on the allocations. Recipients of payments from any of these allocations must attest and accept the Terms and Conditions within 45 days.

    • HHS is distributing $50 billion across the healthcare system to providers and facilities that bill Medicare.
    • Recognizing the financial strain from COVID-19 inpatient admissions, HHS is distributing $12 billion to hospitals that reported at least 100 COVID-19 inpatient admissions through April 10 to HHS.
    • HHS is distributing $10 billion to rural hospitals and clinics.
    • HHS is distributing $400 million to tribal healthcare providers.
    • HHS is using a portion of the Provider Relief Fund to reimburse healthcare providers, at Medicare rates, for COVID-related treatment of the uninsured.
    • HHS is working to provide relief to additional healthcare providers including skilled nursing facilities, dentists, and other providers significantly impacted by COVID-19.

  • April 29, 2020 10:05 AM | Kelly Wetzel (Administrator)

    Telehealth guidance by state during COVID-19

    State emergency orders relevant to licensed psychologists during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

    Delaware

    Status as of April 24, 2020

    Existing state telehealth coverage mandate? 

    YES for commercial health plans; requires reimbursement parity; and allows audio-only phone

    Del. Code Title 18, Ch. 33

    Emergency state action on telehealth reimbursement parity? 

    CMS Section 1135 Medicaid Waiver approved 3/27/20 allows for reimbursement of payable claims by out of state licensed providers not enrolled in the state Medicaid program subject to certain conditions for the duration of the public health emergency.**

    Emergency licensure waiver? 

    joint order issued 3/24/20 by the Department of Health and Human Services and Emergency Management Agency allows out-of-state mental health providers with an active license to provide in-person and telemedicine mental health services. Further, all mental health providers who held a Delaware license within the last 5 years which is now inactive, expired or lapsed may provide services.

    Online registration form is available.

    Supervised Trainee Telehealth Services – Telesupervision and Medicaid Reimbursement 

    Trainees are not eligible to provide telehealth services as they are not licensed in Delaware (and those performing services from other jurisdictions are required to have an active license elsewhere). Postdoctoral students licensed as Psychology Assistants would be eligible to perform services.

    For more information by state: https://www.apaservices.org/practice/clinic/covid-19-telehealth-state-summary


  • March 18, 2020 5:13 PM | Kelly Wetzel (Administrator)

    On March 6, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 (H.R. 6074, Public Law 116-123), which provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding, including a provision that allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to waive Medicare telehealth restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak so that patients can receive care no matter where they are located, including at home.

    House sponsors of the CONNECT for Health Act, another bill that would waive telehealth reimbursement restrictions during national emergencies, sent a letter last week to HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging the expeditious waiver implementation and guidance, as did Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.

    On March 17, HHS waived key restrictions and issued public guidance on that waiver. Notably, the guidance allows Medicare patients to receive telehealth services in their homes and permits psychologists to provide services to both existing and new Medicare patients allowing for greater service delivery than what was enacted into law. Providers can use telephones for patient services as long as they are equipped with audio and video capabilities that enable two-way, real-time interactive communication. The Office of Civil Rights at HHS announced it would waive penalties for potential HIPAA violations during this public health emergency.

    APA will be releasing more details on these waivers as soon as possible. In addition, APA will continue to advocate for increasing patient access to telehealth services at the federal and state level so that psychologists can provide essential mental health care.

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    APA applauds the House and Senate sponsors of the APA-supported CONNECT for Health Act—Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) for securing elements of their telehealth bill in the coronavirus response package.

    For more information, contact Laurel Stine, JD, at lstine@apa.org and Deborah Baker, JD, at dbaker@apa.org.

    http://d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/apapractice/attachments/apa%20advocacy%20washington%20update%203_18.pdf

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