Updated December 12, 2020
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.
- December 11, 2020: Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended his emergency order, directing all state-regulated health insurers to make additional coverage changes to aid consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. His order is in effect until January 10, 2021, and continues coverage for providing telehealth via methods including telephone and video chat tools such as Facetime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangout video, Skype and Go-to-Meeting.
- December 8, 2020: Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-29 regarding telemedicine payment parity was extended until the termination of the COVID-19 State of Emergency or December 31, 2020, whichever occurs first. On January 1, 2021, SB 5385, which establishes telemedicine payment parity for insurance carriers in Washington State, takes effect.
- October 6, 2020: The Health Care Authority (HCA) received official notification from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that the Public Health Emergency (PHE) has been extended until January 21, 2021. Visit the HHS website for more information.
- 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 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 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
- The DEA Diversion Control Division has a COVID-19 information page. It includes a decision tree on how to prescribe controlled substances to patients during this public health epidemic.
- 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 Playbook Patient Engagement
- Center for Connected Health Policy Current 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
Coding During COVID-19
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
Behavioral Health Toolkits
- Behavioral Health Impacts after COVID-19 Shelter-at -Home Orders: What to Expect and Ways to Prepare for the Return to School by UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Seattle Children’s Hospital
- SAMHSA COVID-19 Resources
- The COVID-19 Behavioral Health Group developed the COVID-19 Behavioral Health Toolbox for Families. The toolbox gives families tips on how to understand emotional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- HEALWA, the on-call library for Washington State’s practitioners, has a COVID-19 toolkit with updated information and guidance.
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.
- Need PPE? The “PPE Connect” marketplace by the Association of Washington Business (AWB) connects Washington employers with Washington manufacturers of protective equipment.
- Complete list of resources for businesses through the State of Washington.
- 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.
- 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.
State Government Response to COVID-19
- Washington State Department of Health
- 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 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.
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.