As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, our members struggle to determine the best way to provide care to their patients. Over the past few weeks, APA, PaPS and even the Pennsylvania Medical Society have been fielding emails and calls about how to use telemedicine- its challenges, how to adequately get reimbursed, how to begin the process- even just the basics to set up the process. Below is information from the state and federal level to initiate the process.
In late February, Pennsylvania’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) released an updated telehealth bulletin. The updated bulletin and the attestation to begin the service is
. Changes to the bulletin included an expansion to the Department of Human Services’ Fee-for-Service program and expanded those medical health professionals who could provide the service.
However with the advent of COVID-19, a revised document was distributed on March 15.
to view the revised document. Additional relaxations to the service include the ability to allow service to be transmitted “in house” vs. with a healthcare professional present; the elimination of a HIPAA required line; and no limits on its use for treatment.
NOTE: this applies only to Medicaid. You will have to check with third party payers as to their coverage of telemedicine.
The APA has updated their website with additional information on telehealth and telepsychiatry. Specifically, they are watching closely how insurers will be reimbursing our members and that delays do not occur for those beginning to provide telehealth services and those providers expanding their services.
to read a blog with resources from the APA.
Many members have asked about how COVID-19 and telehealth affects prescribing of controlled substances. The DEA created a PDF in May of 2018 on providing Medication Assisted Treatment in a telehealth setting.
It is enclosed here
A link to their website is
to provide information on prescribing during the Coronavirus.
HOT OFF THE PRESS - March 17, 2020
Today, the Trump Administration today announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. Beginning on March 6, 2020, Medicare—administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.
This guidance, and earlier CMS actions in response to the COVID-19 virus, are part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19
. For information specific to CMS, please visit the
Current Emergencies Website
We were informed this week that malpractice carriers are receiving a significant amount of calls about telemedicine and how providers are covered during this pandemic.
for additional resources on the topic.
NOTE: This information is usually only shared with PRMS clients. In the interest of helping during this challenging time, we wanted to get it out to all psychiatrists and members of the mental health community. However, we were urged to share this information with our members.