Coronavirus Resources: Telehealth
Coronavirus: Guidelines and Telehealth
Many of the guidelines and recommendations around prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) involve limiting transmission of the disease via person-to-person contact and avoiding any unnecessary gatherings, events, and meetings. By 3/14/20, many clinics, agencies, and health organizations moved to maximize use of virtual operations if possible, and many counselors considered using telehealth as an alternative to in-person counseling sessions. Then on 3/15/20, we saw even more measures put in place closing schools for 3 weeks, limiting gatherings to no more than 25 people, and prohibiting on-site consumption in restaurants and bars until April 6th.
As of 3/21/20, it became the exception that clinics and agencies werestill requiring employees to come in for work. Only essential in-person service delivered to hospital and other populations that require ongoing care are conducting any type of face-to-face or in-person treatment, and even many of those providers are largely using telehealth.
The cases reported continue to climb, as do fatalities. Social Distancing Protocols are strongly encouraged. Daily numbers are posted at 4:30 pm on the DPH Website. (see link immediately below)
Please note, for more information around the Coronavirus in general, including facts on prevention, guidance and recommendations, and printable fact sheets. Please visit the website of the Department of Public Health to view their information and guidelines: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
(Updated as information becomes available)
• Vehicle for Clinician and Client Questions: MaMHCA has created a new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org specifically to field questions and support providers who are experiencing challenges with either getting or providing mental health services during this critical and challenging emergency. MaMHCA staff will be monitoring this mailbox & sorting through the emails to forward on to the appropriate resources, associations, or government agencies for resolution. This service is open to all Massachusetts providers of mental and behavioral health services, not just LMHCs.
• Implementing Telehealth: The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission has a resource that provides insights, practical tips from providers, and information on successfully implementing telehealth for behavioral health services. This is helpful for those who have not yet implemented telehealth or are looking for review of information for using it if you are not yet regularly implementing it in your practice. This resource is available here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/tele-behavioral-health-implementation-guide/download.
• Telehealth Information: Here is the information MaMHCA has compiled about telehealth specifically related to the current Coronavirus outbreak:
►Emergency Policies from EOHHS:
• Expand telehealth coverage to now include telephonic coverage.
• Cover 90-day refills of prescriptions and early refills.
• Remind providers that there are no copays for lab tests.
• Pharmacists cannot deny medications if a member cannot pay.
• HIPAA required technology provision is WAIVED, for this emergency.
• College students are covered for Telehealth, to be “seen” by their existing clinician (including LMHCs) Governor’s Executive Order of 3/17/20; Adopted by Allied Board of Mental Health & Human Services Professionals 3/20/20.
►Billing Codes, Procedure Codes and Criteria:
MassHealth & CBHI
Important Documents Providing Billing Codes, Procedure codes, and Appendix A Provides details of criteria, Bulletin 289 p3 outlines CBHI covered services.
All Provider Bulletin 289: MassHealth Coverage and Reimbursement Policy for Services Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Managed Care Entity Bulletin 20: Coverage and Reimbursement for Services Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Please regularly check mass.gov/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-and-masshealth for MassHealth-related information.
Here is an article on the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services website that reviews information about enforcement discretion related to HIPAA and the current national emergency: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/notification-enforcement-discretion-telehealth/index.html
Commercial Insurers Covering Telehealth:
►Note: Be sure to verify the benefit as self-insured plans can OPT OUT.
For ancillary and a subset of behavioral health providers:
Important note: This information only applies to the ancillary and behavioral health specialties on the list provided through the link above.
When you provide any telephonic services, do not bill the specific telephonic CPT codes. Bill all covered services that you render either by telehealth/video or telephone as if you are performing a face-to-face service using the codes that are currently on your fee schedule.
You must use one of the following telehealth modifiers listed above (GT, 95, G0, and GQ) and place of service 02. This will enable us to pay you the same rate we pay you for in-person, face-to-face visits.
Beacon's Coronavirus Resource Page
Beacon FAQ publication for overall guidance re:telehealth
COVID-19 Provider Hub
Cigna Behavioral Health Transformations April 2020