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Online CME: Physician Wellness

Online CME: Psychiatric Practice During COVID-19

9/25/2020 » 9/27/2020
Fall 2020 CME Meeting & EXPO


This page contains updates from FPS regarding our Spring Meeting, as well as resources and information that may help your practice. Please read below for information about Telepsychiatry during the Coronavirus outbreak, Medicare and Medicaid updates, Risk Management tips, and more.


Message from FPS Regarding Coronavirus and the Spring Meeting - 3/17/20

Dear Members,

The Florida Psychiatric Society would like to thank our members for their patience while the FPS administrative staff and Executive Board addressed issues related to the scheduled Spring Meeting and COVID-19. We tried to see if the Meeting could still be held as scheduled, but with changing recommendations from the CDC and state government officials on what size of gatherings are permissible, and the space needed to reduce risk of infection, it became clear that our Spring Meeting had to be canceled. We will try to provide refunds in a timely manner. We do ask that members are patient with us, since we may need to have staff working at home, or we may run into other unexpected barriers or delays.
We hope everyone stays healthy and we apologize for any inconvenience the cancellation or its timing may have caused.
Ryan C. W. Hall MD
President of the Florida Psychiatric Society

To learn more about registration and hotel refunds, how the cancellation affects the Fall 2020 meeting, and the rescheduling of the Board meeting, please click here

COVID-19 in Florida

New! Comprehensive Guide to COVID-19 in Florida - outbreak information, DOH updates, Medicaid, Pharmacy info, insurance regulation, Executive Orders, stay-in-place orders, emergency loans, taxes, price gouging, tourism, and more. Updated 3/31/20 - prepared by Metz Husband Daughton, PA

New!  FAQs on Governor DeSantis' Executive Order to stay in home.

Telepsychiatry Resources

FPS' Telepsychiatry Resources

General Information about Telehealth in Florida, and toolkits to help guide your telemedicine practice. Click here!

APA Message - Telepsychiatry and Coronavirus - 3/10/2020

With the community-spread of COVID-19, many patients may be unable or unwilling to travel to their psychiatrist’s office to keep their appointments. Additionally, psychiatrists situated in hospital or other critical care settings may wish to transfer their in-person patient caseload to something virtual in order to protect patients. With recent legislation at both the federal and state levels, this is becoming more feasible with respect to laws, regulations, and reimbursement policies around telemedicine.

Last week, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. This statute gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to waive both of these Medicare telehealth reimbursement restrictions for mental health services overall, during certain emergency periods. However, there are two stipulations:

  • In order to be eligible for telehealth encounter while located in (“seen”) in the home, the patient must have been seen by the provider (e.g., billed to Medicare) within the last three years, up to the date of the initial telehealth encounter.
  • If the patient intends to see a new provider for a telehealth encounter, the patient must have been seen by a provider from the same medical practice, operating under the same Tax Identification Number (TIN), within the last three years.

Please note: That while the legislation above grants the HHS Secretary the authority to make these changes, Secretary Azar has not yet announced whether or when it plans to do so. We are notifying you of these possible changes so that you can prepare.  APA is monitoring the situation and will keep its members notified of any progress.

Also, many governors are announcing states of emergencies in their respective states and are waiving similar originating site restrictions for Medicaid participants, allowing for patients to be seen in the home. It is a good idea to contact your state Board of Medicine, or Medicaid administrator, to see if these have been lifted for your Medicaid patients. Further, states where an emergency declaration have been made are eligible to have telehealth geographic site restrictions lifted for Medicare Advantage members enrolled in Part B, allowing patients to be seen in the home. For more information, see this “special requirements” memorandum from CMS. Note that this memorandum also includes guidance around Medicare Part D.

Finally, some private insurers are also lifting similar restrictions imposed on patients. If you accept private insurance, some of these carriers are mailing letters to providers, informing them of this change; if you have not yet heard from them, it would be a good idea for you—or your patient—to contact them in order to clarify whether such restrictions exist.

We have developed a sample letter for you to send to the private insurers and Medicaid agencies to inquire about altering restrictions and paying for needed billing codes.  It can be found on APA’s Telepsychiatry Blog on COVID-19 practice considerations here. More information on Medicare telehealth requirements, as well as billable CPT codes, can be found here.

For more information about how to provide care for your patients through telepsychiatry in response to COVID-19, click here

If you have additional questions, please contact the Practice Management Help Line.


Telepsychiatry Toolkits

PRMS Telepsychiatry Checklist - with updates to reflect several governmental changes

AMA quick guide to telemedicine in practice

New! General Provider Telehealth and Telemedicine Tool Kit

New! Telemedicine: A Practical Guide for Incorporation into your Practice



President Trump Expands Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Outbreak - 3/17/20


Medicare Telehealth Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)- 3/17/20

HHS Office for Civil Rights - Notification of Enforcement Discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency - 3/19/20

FCC Telepsychiatry program - As part of the CARES Act, the FCC has created a $200 million program to support healthcare workers with the costs of  telecommunications, information services, and connected devices to provide connected care services in response to the coronavirus pandemic.. Application details are on page 14.


Online telemedicine websites

Amwell, Backline Blum, and  Google Hangouts Meet


Medicare and Medicaid Resources

AHCA has set up a link to all Medicaid Provider and managed care organization guidance letters.  This site is updated as new alerts are posted here .

Prior authorizations and maintenance prescriptions: In order to reduce administrative burdens on key providers, Florida Medicaid is waiving prior authorization requirements for medically necessary hospital services, physician services, advanced practice registered nursing services, physician assistant services, home health services, and durable medical equipment and supplies. In addition to the services listed above, Florida Medicaid is waiving prior authorization requirements for all services (except pharmacy services) necessary to appropriately evaluate and treat Medicaid recipients diagnosed with COVID-19.  Florida Medicaid will reimburse for a 90-day supply of maintenance prescriptions when available at the pharmacy. The recipient must request that the pharmacy dispense a 90-day supply. In addition, Florida Medicaid is waiving any limits on mail order delivery of maintenance prescriptions. Florida Medicaid and managed care plans will pay for a 90-day supply of maintenance prescriptions through mail order delivery. To view the Florida Medicaid Health Care Alert click here. To view the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) Policy Transmittal: 2020-15 click here .

Telemedicine Guidance: 

Florida Medicaid has expanded telemedicine/telehealth services in the fee- for- service delivery system for physicians, APRNs, physician assistants , as well as for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. This includes evaluation, diagnostic, and treatment services as long as the services can be delivered in a manner that is consistent with the standard of care. In addition, Florida Medicaid has expanded telemedicine coverage to:

  • Behavior analysis services
  • Specified behavioral health services
  • Early intervention services

On March 16, 2020, Florida was the first state to be granted a waiver under Section 1135. We expect that Florida Medicaid will provide further guidance on implementation of the waivers in the next few days. The waivers and modifications take effect on March 15, with a retroactive effective date of March 1, 2020.  The waiver deals with 4 key areas:

  • Provider participation
  • Waiver of Service Prior Authorization (PA) Requirements.
  • Waiver for Pre-Admission Screening and Annual Resident Review (PASRR) Level I Level II Assessments for 30 Days.
  • Waiver to allow evacuating facilities to provide services in alternative settings, such as a temporary shelter when a provider’s facility is inaccessible.
  • State fair hearing requests and appeal deadlines.

For more information on the waiver click here .

Fact Sheets

Coverage and Payment Related to COVID-19 Medicare- 3/5/20

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Agencies - 3/12/20


Medicare Telehealth Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)- 3/17/20

Press Releases

CMS Issues Guidance to help Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans Respond to COVID-19 3/10/20

Letter to all Medicare Advantage Organizations, Part D Sponsors, and Medicare-Medicaid Plans - 3/10/20

Florida Medicaid Coverage of Services During the State of Emergency Related to COVID-19- 3/16/20

President Trump Expands Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Outbreak - 3/17/20

CMS Approves First State Request for 1135 Medicaid Waiver in Florida - 3/17/20

New! AHCA COVID-19 Alerts (including Medicaid and Telemedicine Alerts)

New! Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Policy Transmittal, Re: COVID-19: Telemedicine Services

New! Trump Administration Announces Expanded Coverage for Essential Diagnostic Services Amid COVID-19 Public Health Emergency- 4/11/20

Other Insurance Press Releases

Insurance information is linked below for the latest news on insurance coverage. Some insurances are starting to cover telehealth visits for urgent care and/or Coronavirus related care. Insurances that are covering all telehealth visits are specified below. Many are also increasing access to medications.  Please keep in mind that the company may release more recent information that may not be linked here.

Aetna - until June 4, 2020, Aetna will offer zero co-pay telemedicine visits – for any reason. Until further notice, Aetna will offer zero co-pay telemedicine visits for any reason to all Individual and Group Medicare Advantage members.

Bright Health- 3/17 - Early medication refills, more coverage for coronavirus health care, more transportation coverage.

Capital Health Plan - 3/17 - Earlier medication refills. Telehealth not covered for all plans.

Cigna - 3/17 - More telehealth coverage flexibility for customers with immunosuppression, chronic conditions or who are experiencing transportation challenges to be treated virtually by in-network physicians; free home delivery of up to 90-day supplies for Rx maintenance medications.

Compass Rose Benefits - 3/17 - free telemedicine services through Doctor on Demand and through an in-network primary care provider if offered.

Florida Blue - 3/9/20 - Early medication refills, flexibility with formulary. Increased access to telehealth - 3/18/20. Created 24-hour, toll-free emotional support helpline (833-848-1762) - 3/17. Extended grace period through May 31, 2020 for customers unable to pay premiums as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis - 3/30.

Health First Health Plans - 3/10/20 - will temporarily reduce out-of-network cost-sharing to in-network-cost sharing amounts, where applicable, and will permit Medicare Parts A, B and supplemental Part C benefits to be provided at facilities that are not contracted with Health First. Health First will also provide payment to pharmacies for at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medication.

Humana - 3/17 - urgent care telemedicine covered, early prescription refills, some qualify for prescription deliveries. additional FAQ page here.

Magellan - 3/20 - expanding telehealth services

United Healthcare - 3/17 - Early prescription refills, loosened restrictions on telehealth coverage.

New! Additional Telehealth payor information gathered by Dr. Debra Barnett

Other Practice Resources

New! COVID-19 Risk Management Tip from Platinum Partner PRMS Inc -3/27/20

We wanted to make sure you were aware of all of the various resources related to telepsychiatry and COVID-19:

From the federal government:

The DEA has issued a statement confirming the public health emergency declaration exception to the required one in-person visit prior to prescribing controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, as amended by the Ryan Haight Act.

The FDA has issued guidance related to REMS requirements, such as required lab monitoring that cannot be done by home-bound patients.

OCR has issued several HIPAA-related resources

  • The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) , the agency responsible for HIPAA enforcement, has exercised “its enforcement discretion and will waive potential penalties against health care providers that serve patients through everyday communication technologies during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. This exercise of discretion applies to widely available communication apps, such as FaceTime or Skype, when used in good faith for any telehealth treatment or diagnostic purpose, regardless of whether the telehealth service is directly related to COVID-19.”
  • Telemedicine FAQs
  • Information sharing
  • Coronavirus-related cyber scams

SAMHSA has put out various resources including:

CMS has relaxed several requirements for the provision of and payment for telemedicine services to federal healthcare program beneficiaries, such as Medicare patients.

From professional organizations:

From the ASAM:

From the AMA :

From the APA :

See all PRMS Coronavirus Risk Alerts here.


Practice Guidance for COVID-19

APA- Info on telehealth, substance abuse, inpatient psychiatry, commercial payers, and more.

New! AMA - Guide to non-essential care in private practice


HIPAA and Covid-19

HIPAA Emergency Preparedness

HHS Issues Limited Waiver of HIPAA Sanctions Due to Coronavirus


Substance Abuse

SAMHSA - Guidance on substance abuse treatment during Coronavirus

SAMHSA - Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19 - 3/26 (webinars and other resources on various practice-related topics, including treatment, telehealth, and practice management)

Other resources:

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