Newsletters

NASW IA COVID-19 Update #7


Here is a not so quick synopsis of news in the Age of Corona.  Scroll down for more information on

  1. A reminder from the NASW Office of General Counsel…antitrust law and social work
  2. State of Iowa Employees and those who have State of Iowa Employees as clients
  3. Guide from U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (IA-
  4. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, including non-profits
  5. UPDATE! Medicare and Telehealth modifiers
  6. Action Alert:  Medicare Telehealth
  7. Social workers help lower patient health care utilization rates 
  1. A reminder from the NASW Office of General Counsel…antitrust law and social work

As we are advocating for telehealth insurance coverage, please be cognizant of your own contractual obligations to not discuss specific rate reimbursement.

“Discussions among health care providers (including social workers) about third-party reimbursement – including fee schedules and other terms of their contracts with health plans – can lead to violation of antitrust law. Antitrust laws are broad and complex, but on a basic level they operate to prohibit coordinated anticompetitive activities between competitors. In this case, maybe counterintuitively, social workers are considered competitors against each other, in negotiating with insurers. Discussion among competitors of pricing and contract terms must be avoided, because it can result in anticompetitive activities such as boycotting (or otherwise coercing) a health insurer to provide more favorable rates and terms. In order to avoid potential liability, legal commentators caution that such discussions must be avoided in all forums, including during meetings, private conversations and on-line chats.”

 

  1. State of Iowa Employees and those who have State of Iowa Employees as clients

Good information in general, but see

bottom of page 6, Q17

for specifics on telehealth, including mental health. 

Audio only will be allowed through June 16, 2020. 

https://das.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/hr/documents/COVID19/COVID-19_FAQ.pdf

Federal Resources

  1. Guide from U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (IA-3)

The office of U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne has put together an extensive resource guide on Corona Virus, including what has changed with the COVID-19 legislation

https://axne.house.gov/media/coronavirus-resource-guide

  1. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, including non-profits

SBA has Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, aquaculture businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information about the various types of SBA assistance is available at: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options

  1. UPDATE! Medicare and Telehealth modifiers

On April 3, 2020 Medicare reported revisions to telehealth place of service and modifier codes. The revisions will allow clinical social workers and other providers to be reimbursed for telehealth services at the same rate as an in-person service. The Practice Alert, Attention Clinical Social Workers: Medicare Revises Telehealth Place of Service and Modifier Codes During COVID-19, provides information to NASW members and is available at

https://www.socialworkers.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=AIf2z25g2mI%3d&portalid=0

 

  1. Action Alert:  Medicare Telehealth

As you may know, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently implemented temporary flexibilities in regulations regarding telehealth in order to ensure that beneficiaries can access health and mental health services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Clinical social workers can use smartphones with video chat apps such as Skype or Apple Facetime, in addition to video conferencing technology (which was permissible prior to the pandemic), to conduct psychotherapy. However, as of this writing, Medicare will not reimburse for psychotherapy provided via audio-only devices (e.g. landlines).

NASW National has created an easy way to ask the US Dept. of Health and Human Services to change this and allow social workers and other mental health professionals to provide and be reimbursed for  telehealth via audio only means. Click on the link below:

https://www.socialworkers.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Alerts

And finally, some good news! 

  1. Social workers help lower patient health care utilization rates 

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/safety-quality/social-workers-lower-patient-healthcare-use-study-shows               

It’s hard to believe that we are wrapping up what we are calling Week 4 of COVID-19 Iowa Rapid Response (counting from Sunday, March 15 – the day the Iowa legislature announced that it would be meeting for an abbreviated session on Monday, March 16). Please let us know what you need from your professional association to make your job easier. That is why you pay your dues!

Information is available from all kinds of sources. Social workers turn to NASW as a trusted source of authoritative practical guidance, evidence-based practice information and curated content. The more you put into your NASW membership, the more you’ll get out of it – so take advantage of your membership to help you learn, thrive, and grow in your social work career.  Help us help you.