Note from Your VCNP President
The events of recent weeks have brought feelings of anger, sadness, pain and confusion. VCNP is committed to supporting our brown/black and African American colleagues, patients and communities and to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion within our organization and profession. As an association of healthcare professionals, it is our responsibility to use our platform for justice. We will be meeting as a Board this weekend and will follow-up next week regarding action steps we will take to further this mission.
We have compiled a list of resources and welcome your suggestions for additional valuable content to share with our community.
Medicare and Medicaid telehealth coverage
During the Public Health Emergency (PHE), certain Medicare telehealth payment requirements have been waived to allow beneficiaries in all areas of the country to receive telehealth services, including at their home. This waiver allows full reimbursement for audio only and video services. During the PHE, penalties will be waived for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients in good faith through everyday communications technologies, such as FaceTime or Skype, and telephones with audio and video capabilities. The telehealth waiver is effective until the PHE ends as declared by the Secretary of HHS. This is irrespective of individual state PHE declarations.

Payment for Medicare telehealth services is the same as if the services were furnished in person. For Medicare telehealth services, the claim should reflect the designated Place of Service (POS) code02-Telehealth, to indicate the billed service was furnished as a professional telehealth service from a distant site.

The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), Virginia’s state Medicaid agency, expanded telehealth coverage and flexibility in the delivery of care through telehealth. Medicaid covered services delivered through telehealth are reimbursed as long as the provider assures the same rights to confidentiality as is given in face-to -face care and the provider obtains informed consent from the patient to provide care via telehealth. DMAS waived the existing requirement that telehealth services must be done in real-time via a platform with audio and visual connections, thus allowing audio only care or care provided via the telephone. DMAS also waived the requirement that staff must be with the patient at the originating site and also allowed the patient and provider to be at home when care is delivered. Until further notice, Medicaid is not requiring the provider to bill using telehealth Codes only but is allowing the use of CPT or HCPCS codes when billing, which allows for same reimbursement as in person. Finally, DMAS is allowing the delivery of behavioral health services via telehealth including service needs assessments and addiction, recovery and treatment services for opioid use disorders and outpatient psychiatric services.

Virginia state law requires telehealth visits to be reimbursed the same as in-office visits by commercial insurers. During the public health emergency, telehealth visits for Medicare and Medicaid patients also are being reimbursed at the same rate as in-person visits.
Autonomous practice licensure & Executive Order 57
As of June 1, there were 893 NPs with autonomous practice licenses in Virginia with dozens more being processed. VCNP has set a goal of 2020 applications by the end of 2020. If you’re eligible, please apply now.
Executive Order 57 allows NPs with two or more years of clinical experience to practice without a collaborating agreement during the state of emergency. Governor Northam recently extended Virginia’s state of emergency indefinitely, meaning this order may not expire on June 10 as was originally written. We are working to confirm what this means for NPs who have been able to temporarily practice without a collaborative agreement. Regardless of when this order ends, it does not reduce the hours required and need for permanent autonomous practice licensure.
If you have received your license, we want to hear from you! Please share your photo and 1-2 sentences about why you applied for use in future VCNP communications.
If you have been able to practice autonomously because of the executive order’s temporary changes, please let us know how this has changed your ability to practice and increase access to care.
COVID-19 testing sites
Last week, the Virginia Department of Health announced that CVS would be offering drive-through COVID-19 testing at some of its Virginia locations. CVS joins Patient First and other sites across the commonwealth in offering these tests.
Recognizing new graduates
It’s graduation time, and we want to recognize our new graduates. Whether you’re a new NP or recently completed a DNP program, we want to celebrate you. Please send your name, credentials, school and graduating program so we can honor you on social media and in VCNP’s newsletter. If you have a photo, please share that too.
With the exception of the City of Richmond and Northern Virginia, the Commonwealth will move into Phase 2 today, Friday, June 6. As you continue providing care to Virginia’s citizens, please let us know how we can be a resource for you. Thank you for your continued dedication to your patients and our profession.
Becky Compton, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
President, VCNP Board of Directors