COVID-19 Resources for Psychologists

Dear North Dakota Psychologists,

First, let me say that I hope that you, your loved ones, and people you serve are all safe and healthy. These are extraordinary times we are living in right now with the pandemic of COVID-19. I want to acknowledge that and just give “voice” to these strange circumstances.

I also want to make sure that each of you knows that the North Dakota Psychological Association (NDPA) is working hard to support you, your profession, and your clients during this difficult time.  We are all rapidly seeking out ways to stay connected with others, both professionally and personally.  Last week, NDPA partnered with APA to advocate for telehealth access and reimbursement, and communicated with the North Dakota Insurance Commissioner and the Governor’s Office.  The Insurance Commissioner responded to our request, and subsequently provided guidelines to insurance carriers consistent with the recent guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 17, 2020.  These guidelines also mandated insurance companies to start or continue to provide covered services via telehealth (allowing telehealth visits to occur with both new and established patients, and permitting the originating site to be the patient’s home).  These changes provided countless homebound patients with access to essential services and helped to protect North Dakota psychologists from the financial insecurity that many professionals are currently facing.

NDPA has been actively working to provide our members with breaking news and up-to-date information regarding changes to our profession, including guidelines regarding telepsychology; recommendations for free Telehealth training opportunities; changes to insurance reimbursement; and interjurisdictional rule requirements, and has fielded many requests for additional information.  We have also re-formed our Disaster Response Network to develop resources to distribute to the public and to offer pro-bono support to health care providers.

In the coming weeks, NDPA will continue to disseminate information and advocate on behalf of our profession to enhance the psychological health and wellbeing of the clients and communities we serve.  If you are interested in becoming involved in these efforts, please let us know at info@ndpsych.org.  I am interested in hearing your ideas and listening to your concerns as we continue to navigate these uncertain times.  Thank you!

Take care,

Dr. Jessica Mugge
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
President, North Dakota Psychological Association
1308 23rd St S
Fargo, ND 58103

 

Temporary Changes to Medicare Telehealth Guidelines

https://www.apaservices.org/practice/reimbursement/government/medicare-telehealth-temporary-changes

 

APA Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology

https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/telepsychology

 

Executive Order issued by Governor Burgum regarding Telehealth guidelines and reimbursement

BULLETIN 2020-3

 

Interjurisdictional Practice

ASPPB has been working with states and provinces to determine interjurisdictional practice guidelines, and will update their website every afternoon. 

https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.asppb.net/resource/resmgr/covid19/temporary_interjuisdictional.pdf

 

Telehealth Informed Consent

APA has quickly developed new resources for psychologists to use for telehealth. An Informed Consent Telepsychology checklist (to adapt for use in your clinical record) and an Office and Technology Preparation Checklist (for reference as you prepare your office and practice for telehealth) can be found here:

INFORMED CONSENT CHECKLIST FOR TELEPSYCHOLOGY SERVICES (3.14.20)

LINK TO OFFICE AND TECHNOLOGY CHECKLIST FOR TELEPSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES (3.14.20)

These documents were reviewed by several practicing psychologists and attorneys.

 

Telehealth Platforms

With regards to HIPAA-conforming telehealth platforms, the APA’s free online article, “Comparing the Latest Telehealth Solutions” offers some guidance when comparing the three popular platforms, Doxy.me, thera-link, and Zoom (in terms of their privacy/security, features, ease of use, functionality, and customer support).

https://www.apaservices.org/practice/business/technology/tech-column/telehealth-solutions?_ga=2.48090279.1296960520.1585235340-841085446.1582917113