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News & Press: Updates for Members

COVID-19 and Telehealth Update from NASW-NC (Continually Updating)

Thursday, April 30, 2020   (8 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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NASW-NC COVID-19 Resources for Social Workers

 

NASW-NC COVID-19 Forum for Social Workers

 

Updates:

4/30/2020: Provider Request for PPE

4/30/2020: COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal

4/29/2020: NC DHHS Updates on Behavioral Health Grants, Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative, Telehealth

4/24/2020: Copays for Medicaid and NC Health Choice

4/24/2020: Legislative Health Care Working Group Proposal and Legislative Session Update

4/23/2020: New Telephone Codes Allowed for NC Medicaid

4/21/2020: Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program for Families

4/17/2020: NC Medicaid Special Bulletin COVID-19 #46: Behavioral Health Service Flexibilities

4/17/2020: NC Medicaid NC Innovations and TBI Waiver Provider Webinar/Call

4/09/2020: NC Medicaid Telehealth Billing Code Summary

4/09/2020: Hope4Healers – North Carolina Needs Licensed Mental Health Professionals to Support Healthcare Workers During the COVID-10 Pandemic!

4/09/2020: COVID-19: Best Practices for Congregate Living Settings, Training TODAY

4/07/2020: Joint NC DMHDDSAS and NC Medicaid COVID-10 Update for NC Providers on 4/8/2020

3/31/2020: Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know

3/31/2020: Blue Cross NC Guidance on Billing and Claims

3/30/2020: NC COVID19 Update, Provider Guidance, and Telehealth Billing

3/28/2020: Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina Offers Weekly
Q&A Webinars for Providers

3/27/2020: New telehealth Codes and Legislative COVID Feedback Requested

3/26/2020: Weekly provider calls with time for Q&A

3/25/2020: NCDHHS COVID-19Weekly Behavioral Health Provider Call Thursday

3/24/2020: NC DHHS Webinar: Provider Q&A TODAY!

3/23/2020: State of North Carolina Seeking Behavioral Health Volunteers

3/20/2020: Updated Telehealth Policies by Insurer

3/20/2020: Unemployment Insurance Information for those
impacted by COVID-19 Crisis

3/19/2020: NASW Webinar, Key Developments in Medicare
Telehealth on Monday (Webinar Recording available)

3/18/2020: NC 2-1-1 to Provide Assistance for COVID-19

3/18/2020: Resources from our I/DD Partners

3/18/2020: Just released Medicare Telehealth Updates for LCSWs

3/17/2020: Pearson VUE test centers have suspended test delivery
for 30 days, impacting those scheduled to take the ASWB Social
Work exams.

3/15/2020: COVID-19 Update from NC DHHS

3/13/2020: NC Medicaid SPECIAL BULLETIN COVID-19 #2: General
Guidance and Policy Modifications

 

Social workers, like many health and behavioral health professionals, are concerned about the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on their well-being, the people to whom they provide services, their families, and others in the community.


NASW has been working on multiple fronts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure access to services, such as advocacy to ensure insurance coverage for teletherapy. NASW-NC also made the decision to hold the 2020 NASW-NC Ethics Conference on March 20 virtually as the health and safety of our attendees is our top priority. All live-streaming webinars count as in-person CE in North Carolina for Social Work Licensure renewal.

 

All NASW-NC Local Program Unit events have also been postponed or cancelled for March 2020.

 

Below are resources to support social workers in this role including Telehealth information and resources for our NASW-NC membership. As the situation evolves, NASW will continue to monitor developments and work to protect social workers and the clients we serve. As a reminder, your membership gives you access to benefits and advocacy at the state and National level. For information about what our National office is doing to keep social workers informed, check out:

www.socialworkers.org/Practice/Infectious-Diseases/Coronavirus

 

Statement from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services:

Governor Cooper has declared a state of emergency in order to coordinate our response and take significant protective actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) wants to draw your attention to three key things:

  1. NC DHHS’s Division of Public Health and the State Health Director has advised specific recommendations to be taken by everyone to help blunt the impact and spread of the virus.
  2. In line with those recommendations, we have immediately paused visitation at all 12 state operated healthcare facilities (psychiatric hospitals, neuro-medical treatment centers, developmental centers, & alcohol / drug abuse treatment centers). We recognize this change may cause concern among patients, residents, guardians, family members, & others but it is imperative we protect our patients, residents, & employees so we are taking every possible step to prevent our facilities from the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  3. In addition to the Stigma webpage that is already nested on the COVID-19 website, we will be soon launching an additional Behavioral Health resources for consumers to both direct them to services via normal channels and help specifically address some of the particular concerns arising in this event.

For the most updated information, continue to visit www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus. In particular – the “Latest Updates” offers a constantly updating timeline of the most recent information. 

 

Telehealth in Social Work Practice

Some clients (or you) may prefer to provide services via telehealth/ teletherapy for a period of time. If you do not currently provide services in this manner, check with your payers to verify that they will reimburse for services provided this way. Also, see NASW’s Technology Standards for guidance. Review your malpractice insurance policy regarding provisions around teletherapy and where it is provided (for example, from your home in the event that you cannot use your office due to any quarantine or containment requirements in your area).

 

NASW-NC Telehealth Guide

 

North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board’s Statement on Technology Facilitated Services


Insurers Responses to COVID-19 and Telehealth:

NC Medicaid:

In partnership with other licensed behavioral health providers, NASW-NC has asked NC Medicaid to proactively facilitate policies that will utilize the use of telehealth enabled treatment by all payors during this time.

 

Friday, March 13, 2020 Update on NC Medicaid telehealth.

 

As a reminder, LCSWs can currently bill for certain telehealth services.

See NC Medicaid Policy 1H for eligible providers and codes.

Providers are encouraged to review this important information at https://medicaid.ncdhhs.gov/providers/medicaid-bulletin.

 

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina will cover members’ cost for COVID-19 testing and will not require prior approval for COVID-19 testing. The company is also expanding virtual access to doctors and will waive early medication refill limits. These changes apply to fully insured, Medicare Advantage and Federal Employee Program members. Self-funded employer groups will be given the option to apply these changes to their employees’ plans.

 

Blue Cross NC has announced that “any service that would be covered with face to face visit, will now be covered as telehealth visit. Make sure to follow state regulatory guidelines (encryption etc).”

Blue Cross NC’s telehealth policy here.

Information and an FAQ document for the Blue Cross NC policy for telehealth related to COVID-19 is hereThis policy does apply to therapy and medication management for MH/SUD. This policy decision is good until April 6.You should hold claims from 3/06 to 3/21 and submit at that time.

 

North Carolina State Health Plan:

www.shpnc.org/blog/2020-03-03/coronavirus-precautions.

The State Health Plan is following Blue Cross NC's policy for telehealth at this time.

 

Medicare

3/17/2020 Update on Medicare

CMS issued the below information about telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries. We are pleased with it overall and wanted to get it to you right away.

  • LCSWs can provide teletherapy to beneficiaries if the client is in their home.
  • They can also see new or existing patients.
  • Telephone/audio only does not appear to be reimbursable; CSWs must use a video conferencing platform.
  • HIPAA requirements are also eased.

Read the link to get complete details


For more on Medicare's telehealth policy:

www.medicare.gov/coverage/telehealth and
www.cms.gov/files/document/03052020-medicare-covid-19-fact-sheet.pdf

 

Aetna

 

UnitedHealthCare

 

Optum: If providers are currently in network, with Optum, they can be reimbursed for providing telehealth services. All providers billing for this type of service will be reimbursed at the same rate they are currently contracted under. Telephonic Care: For members or providers who do not have access to HIPAA-approved technology required to conduct a video-enabled virtual session, we will now accept telephonic sessions. More information can be found here.


Additional Resources:

Council on Social Work Education:

www.cswe.org/News/News/CSWE-Responding-to-Coronavirus

 

Guidance for Clinical Care in Correctional Settings

 

Thank you for your NASW membership. We work to support the members of NASW-NC and will continue to provide you with resources and support during this public health crisis. Please continue to monitor this page for updates.

Comments...

Kay Castillo says...
Posted Friday, May 22, 2020
https://www.socialworkers.org/Practice/Infectious-Diseases/Coronavirus/Telehealth/Telehealth-and-Medicare-During-COVID-19 This link will give you the Medicare codes you need! Let us know if we can help further.
Janet Yankosky says...
Posted Friday, May 22, 2020
Hi all-I saw where it says Medicare will now pay for telephone sessions, but am struggling to find the codes for billing. Can you offer any guidance on where I can find those? Thank you so much for keeping us informed!
Libby M. Smith says...
Posted Monday, May 11, 2020
It seems on my last remittance from NC State Health Plan that they reduced the contracted rate for 90837. Does anyone have information about this?
Seth Maid says...
Posted Friday, April 3, 2020
Thanks so much for reaching out to us with your questions about CE's. NASW-NC is continually updating our Calendar of Events (which you can find on our homepage or by copying and pasting this link: www.naswnc.org/events/event_list.asp) with live webinars of varying length. You can filter the calendar by using the drop-down menu at the top of the page and selecting LIVE Webinars. NASW-NC posts these webinars as a benefit to our members... unless noted, NASW-NC does not endorse these additional opportunities and members need to make sure the continuing education is approved for state licensure.
Deanne Ackley says...
Posted Thursday, April 2, 2020
Hi, I am in a similar situation below. I have 3 ce's to finish and my provisional status; however they need to be live. I am want to finish now, is there some course you can find acceptable so I can move on while the pandemic is here and assist SC as well? They are asking for my help but I am not free to get my licensure status until the 3 Ce's are accounted for. Most grateful!
Jaime L. Moffett says...
Posted Saturday, March 21, 2020
Hello, I hope everyone is healthy! I have my 40 credits to re-up my LCSW NC Licensure due in June. I have completed all online learning, and had planned on live webcasts for the remainder. there were a few coming up that were from about 7am-3pm. With the schools closed, and having to homeschool two elementary aged kids, I can not be on a live webcast for the whole day. Can someone offer some guidance or offer a suggestion? thanks so much! Jaime Moffett
Kay P. Castillo says...
Posted Friday, March 13, 2020
They have not as of today (Friday, 3/13) but we are seeking more information!
Maria S. White says...
Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Has Medicare changed its policy of providing telehealth only in rural areas? (www.palmettogba.com/jmb Sec. 190)

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