Many thanks to the AAPPN members who shared information and resources regarding the impacts of the COVID-10 pandemic on mental health, our profession, and our practices.
We have put together a curated list of these resources to assist you navigate through these difficult times.
Safe Start Phased Reopening
- New, universal workplace safety requirements have been instituted under the Safe Start plan as a broad defense against the spread of COVID-19 at Washington workplaces. The requirements encompass facial coverings, personal protective equipment, physical distancing, hand sanitation, surface sanitation, employee education (PowerPoint), development of policy for ill employees, and compliance with emergency workplace guidance issued by the State of Washington. See the Labor & Industry’s summary of the general requirements (PDF) for more information.
- Safe Start plans and guidance on reopening from Washington State.
- Safe Start Washington Plan (PDF) became effective June 1, 2020.
- Challenge Seattle and the Washington Roundtable have developed a business checklist which is a great starting point for businesses as they prepare for “Safe Start Washington.”
- The American Psychological Association lists some factors to consider before reopening your office.
- Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-10 section has workplace and employer resources and recommendations.
Personal Protective Equipment
- Seattle & King County Public Health published new interim COVID-19 PPE and cloth face covering guidance specific for behavioral health clinicians and clients during the COVID-19 outbreak. These recommendations are based on CDC guidance for healthcare settings and include information on the Local Health Officer Directive on face coverings.
- Need PPE? The “PPE Connect” marketplace by the Association of Washington Business (AWB) connects Washington employers with Washington manufacturers of protective equipment.
Coding During COVID-19
- Video recording of AAPPN Open House with Cathy Campbell from Sirius Medical Billing
- Medicare Telehealth Codes for the COVID-19 pandemic
- Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services (video)
- Apple Health (Medicaid) behavioral health policy and billing during the COVID-19 pandemic (FAQ) (PDF)
Private Insurance Information
Many insurance companies have posted information regarding telehealth payments during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Lifewise https://www.lifewise.com/provider/coronavirus
- BCBS illinois https://www.bcbsil.com/provider/education/2020/2020_03_16.html
- Premera https://www.premera.com/wa/provider/coronavirus-faq/
- Regence https://www.regence.com/provider/library/whats-new/covid-19?fbclid=IwAR0LtgEmfCqk3n1ol05AzFNbEhPZ-Rr9RnCwOXsN1cVF0GgvZcV0IuFgxWw#temporary-updates-to-telehealth
- Aetna https://www.aetna.com/health-care-professionals/provider-education-manuals/covid-faq.html
- United https://www.uhcprovider.com/en/resource-library/news/Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19/covid19-telehealth-services/covid19-telehealth-services-telehealth.html
- July 1, 2020: Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-29 regarding telemedicine payment parity was extended until the termination of the COVID-19 State of Emergency or August 1, 2020, whichever occurs first. On January 1, 2021, SB 5385, which establishes telemedicine payment parity for insurance carriers in Washington State, takes effect.
- April 30, 2020: CMS announcement that audio-only phone services, including psychotherapy, health behavior assessment and intervention services, and other behavioral health services, are covered and will be reimbursed to match payments for similar office and outpatient visits during the COVID-19 pandemic
- April 16, 2020: NCTRC Webinar: COVID-19 and Telebehavioral Responses Across the Lifespan
- April 8, 2020: Apple Health (Medicaid) behavioral health policy and billing during the COVID-19 pandemic (FAQ) covers new telehealth policies that will only be in effect during this health care crisis (PDF)
- March 30, 2020: CMS affirms payment parity for telehealth visits
- March 26, 2020: Inslee provides construction guidance and signs proclamations for UI rules, healthcare payments (telemedicine parity)
- March 20, 2020: Medicare Telehealth FAQs (PDF)
- March 17, 2020: Office of Civil Rights announces covered health care providers may use certain popular applications that allow for video chats to provide telehealth without risk of penalty for HIPPA noncompliance
- Washington State Healthcare Care Authority brief on Apple Care (Medicaid) coverage for telemedicine services
- Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Health IT PlaybookPatient Engagement
- Center for Connected Health PolicyCurrent State Laws & Reimbursement Policies
- U.S. Department of Defense Mobile Health Practice Guide (December 2017)
- An Interprofessional Framework for Telebehavioral Health Competencies (March 2018)
- Medicare Learning Network: Telehealth Services (March 2020)
- Behavioral Health Training, Workforce and Policy Innovation Center telehealth resource page
Other Resources for Your Practice
- APRN certifiers have updated their extension/waiver policies.
- Behavioral health workers are specifically identified as essential critical infrastructure workers: “Behavioral health workers (including mental and substance use disorder) responsible for coordination, outreach, engagement, and treatment to individuals in need of mental health and/or substance use disorder services.”
- Washington Health Care Authority is providing a limited number of no-cost Zoom licenses to health care providers.
- Small Business Administration disaster assistance is available in all counties within the state of Washington.
- Complete list of resources for businesses through the State of Washington.
- HEALWA, the on-call library for Washington State’s practitioners, has a COVID-19 toolkit with updated information and guidance.
- The National Council of State Boards of Nursing recently developed COVID-19 courses for students, new graduates, nurses returning to the workforce, and those who are interested in learning more about the COVID-19 pandemic. The courses are online, self-paced, free of charge, and three of them provide CE credit.
State Government Response to COVID-19
- On July 2, 2020 Gov. Jay Inslee and Sec. of Health John Wiesman today announced a statewide requirement for businesses to require face coverings of all employees and customers. Under this proclamation, businesses may not serve any customer, services or goods, if they do not comply with the state-wide face covering order.
- Safe Start Washington Plan (PDF) became effective June 1, 2020.
- Washington’s Recovery Plan was announced by Governor Inslee on April, 21, 2020.
- COVID-19 announcements from Governor Inslee
- Washington State Department of Health
- Washington State Nursing Commission news
- Washington State Pharmacy Commission news
- Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)
- Office of the Insurance Commissioner information about COVID-19 and health insurance for consumers, insurers, and medical providers
- Washington State Health Care Authority Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) is hosting a weekly webinar (Tuesdays from 12-1 p.m.) for providers of mental health, substance use, and problem gambling services. Registration required.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Meditation is a simple practice available to all, which can reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness.
- Connect with nature.
- Relax with the arts.