The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with uncertain times. We are used to caring for others while often neglecting ourselves. Our role is no doubt important in public health. But our own health and the needs of our loved ones require attention too. We cannot care for others effectively and consistently without awareness of what we need to do the job (physically and emotionally). As we navigate this pandemic, I hope you take care of yourselves and your loved ones. It is extremely important.
I have added some telepsychiatry resources at the bottom of this email. Using telepsychiatry (which is supported by Oregon and federal law) wherever feasible is advised to allow care to continue without added infection risks. President Trump has also announced that Medicare will cover telehealth services for Medicare patients, even those services delivered through FaceTime and Skype (non-HIPAA compliant equipment) in order to increase access. The President has stated that HIPAA would not be enforced for these methods of delivery.
Finally, at the end of this email, you will find a press release that OPPA sent out to over 50 Oregon media outlets this morning providing tips for good mental health despite social distancing precautions. These tips were gathered from APA recommendations and evidence-based research that supports these interventions.
Dan Bristow, MD
President – Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association
Telepsychiatry (State and Federal clearance of its use)
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has issued temporary rules for telemedicine reimbursement for Medicaid (https://www.oregon.gov/oha/HSD/OHP/Policies/130-0610-031620.pdf).
For private insurers who offer mental health benefits, they are required by Oregon law to reimburse HIPAA-compliant live telepsychiatry provided the psychiatrist is enrolled with the insurer. https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB144/Enrolled
Trump's declaration of coverage of Medicare telehealth coverage using non-HIPAA compliant software:
Telepsychiatry Toolkits from APA and AACAP
American Psychiatric Association – Telepsychiatry Toolkit
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – Telepsychiatry Toolkit
Talking to kids about COVID-19
MIND Institute – Talking with kids about COVID-19