To the RBPS Client Community,
As a healthcare provider concerned about both your physical and mental health and well-being, I have been closely monitoring the situation as the COVID-19 virus outbreak has been unfolding.
In general, and particularly during the months of cold and flu season, our practice has always focused on maintaining a sanitary environment, disinfecting frequently contacted common areas and in-office “hotspots” (ie., armrests, door knobs, restroom facilities, hand-held thera-tapper pods), and ensuring healthy air quality with an in-office HEPA / UV filter designed to remove approximately 99% of microbes (viruses and germs) from the air. It was originally my intention to maintain in-person office hours throughout the outbreak given these precautions.
However, following the governor’s announcement regarding Montgomery County yesterday (see below) and in the interest of protecting clients with underlying medical conditions, we are now taking steps to shift to telehealth sessions for at least the next 2 weeks to reduce the transmission of the virus that could occur with in-person visits.
We have been researching insurance benefits and have determined that most plans provided by Aetna and BCBS are currently covering telehealth visits, including plans that previously had tele-behavioral health exclusions. Some (Aetna, Capital Blue Cross) have advised us they are waiving copays for telehealth visits for the next 90 days to reduce exposure to the virus. However, please be aware that each plan is unique, and we strongly encourage you to contact your insurer to confirm coverage prior to proceeding with telehealth treatment. Be sure to keep a record of the time of your call and the representative(s) quoting your benefits. If you have specific concerns, we are happy to research your benefits for you to the best of our ability.
As of the time of this email, Medicare and its supplemental plans are the exception to this, continuing to restrict telehealth psychotherapy sessions to rural health areas (for which we do not qualify). However, this is an evolving situation and it is my hope that this policy will be changing shortly, at least for the duration of virus containment efforts. I will send email updates with new information as it becomes available.
If you are NOT interested in telehealth sessions and would like to cancel your appointment(s) until “social distancing” recommendations are lifted, please call or email me to let me know. There will be no cancelation fees during this time for any reason.
If I do not hear from you, I will assume that you ARE interested in keeping your appointment via telehealth. I will be contacting you shortly via email with further instructions for connecting online for your session at the time it is scheduled. Please be assured that our video conferencing platform is secure and HIPAA compliant. At the time of your session, please make sure that you are in a secure location that allows you the level of privacy, concentration and openness you experience in-person sessions.
I will provide updates / respond to questions as quickly as possible throughout the coming weekend with the intention of holding appointments scheduled for Monday, 3/16/20 online.
Please be assured that we are committed to continuing care to help you reach your treatment goals during this unprecedented experience.