Dear GPA Members,

We have made it through another week. Again, I am astounded by the generosity of our community. I’m including an update on a number of developments that occurred this week. Our plan is to continue to regularly communicate with you.

We are actively reading your emails and monitoring the GPA listserv. We hear your concerns. While we are not responding to individual emails, please know we are very aware of many of your urgent needs to support your patients, students, and businesses.

Here are this week’s update:

Annual Meeting and Trust Workshop Moved to Virtual Format

The GPA Board has made the decision to move to a virtual format for the Annual Meeting and Trust Workshop for 2020. We continue to plan for Georgia psychologists to have access to high-quality CE offerings. Our goal is to have a plan in place in the next week and be able to update registrants and members. At that point, we will offer alternatives regarding transferring your registration, refunds, etc. The Trust Workshop will occur on April 30 th a live, virtual workshop on. Currently, the staff will not have the capacity to process any changes to the Annual Meeting or Trust registrations, so we ask that members and registrants wait to contact the office until we have released the plan next week. The Trust Workshop will occur as a live, virtual workshop on April 30.

Insurance and Managed Care Updates Regarding COVID-19

The Insurance and Managed Care Committee (IMCC) has been hard at work advocating for you. As of last night, DCH has approved for the distance site for providers to be their home during this time. We are now communicating with CMOs to clarify that they will follow this guidance.

The IMCC also has collected the statements of guidance by insurance companies on their policies around telehealth during the COVID-19. We offer this information as a service. Psychologists are responsible for their own billing and reimbursement practices and should consult with insurance payors regarding questions.
Did you get reimbursed or have problems being reimbursed for telehealth services during COVID-19? Please complete the GPA Insurance & Managed Care Committee – Case Specific Data Collection tool.

Updates from the Board of Examiners

The Georgia State Board of Examiners of Psychologists met this morning. They plan to provide some guidance around electronic supervision next week. In addition, they confirmed that they will continue to find alternatives to in-person oral exams and will be in contact with those previously scheduled for in-person oral exams.
Telehealth across State Lines

Some you have asked about rule changes that would allow GA psychologists to practice in other states. It is important to remember that state boards can vote on waivers or variances of their own rules and regulations, but they cannot waive other states’ rules and regulations. Therefore, the Georgia board does not have the authority to authorize Georgia psychologists’ practice in another state. If you need to provide services to clients who are in other states, please check their Board of Psychology website or the ASPPB website for Temporary Interjurisdictional Telepsychological Practice & COVID19 for information about temporary licensure. Some states may permit temporary licensure but for a limited time; there may be an associated fee.

Georgia rule 510-9-.03 for Permission for Limited Practice should be followed for colleagues licensed in states other than Georgia, who wish to practice in Georgia for a temporary amount of time because a patient is located in Georgia. A link to Georgia Board Rules can be found on the Georgia Board of Examiner of Psychology website.

Advocate for Congress to Expand Medicare Mental Health Coverage via Phone

Congress continues to work on legislation responding to the COVID-19 epidemic, including an array of provisions and hundreds of billions of dollars in funding to bolster our health care system and provide financial support to businesses and individuals. We are asking for your help to get language included in this to significantly expand access to Medicare telehealth services. APA provides a helpful template email format to send a letter to your representative.

Scientific Review on the Effects of Quarantine

As psychologists, we know science matters. The Lancet recently published a review of evidence on both the detrimental psychological effects of quarantine and factors that mitigate its impact. This information can help us as those we serve, and those we love, experience quarantine.
Support for Students and Trainees

GPAGS President, Steve Fogelman, will host a GPAGS COVID-19 Question and Answer Session with Drs. Gayle Spears and Christy Hall on April 2, 2020 from 3-4pm via https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KSao_qZpQCyBYKtJtxl-tw

APPIC has provided some Question and Answer Guidance for interns, training programs, and university training directors related to COVID-19 and handling internship requirements.
The APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation (OPCA) has also provided guidance to academic and training programs.

Support of Our Members

We know that taking care of ourselves is critical during this period. To that end, Rabia Subhani-Siddique, has graciously offered to hold a couple of free, online mindfulness sessions for GPA members. We will be getting more information to you about this in the near future.

What can you do to help?

1) Watch for the new announcements for the GPA Annual Meeting . In addition to being high quality CEs, your registration supports the only local organization that protects the value of your license in Georgia. Please join us.
2) Did you get reimbursed or have problems being reimbursed for telehealth services during COVID-19? Please complete the GPA Insurance & Managed Care Committee – Case Specific Data Collection tool.

Additional GPA and APA COVID-19 Resources

Both GPA and APA have dedicated COVID-19 resource pages. In particular, I call your attention to the APA Pandemic Resource Page which contains many excellent resources.

We plan to keep in touch with you and will share information as it becomes available to us in this ever changing world.

Be Well,
Laura Dilly, PhD
President, Georgia Psychological Association