Friday, April 17, 2020

Federal Agencies Offer Financial Assistance for Health Care Professionals and Practices

Psychiatrists and other health care professionals who need financial support to continue to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for assistance from the federal government. There are several options to choose from depending on practice setting and services provided. The options include the following:

  • The COVID-19 Telehealth Program, a $200 million program administered by the Federal Communications Commission, is now accepting applications to help health professionals who provide telehealth services to patients in their homes or in mobile locations during the pandemic. This program is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March. It will enable eligible nonprofit and public health care professionals to purchase telecommunications equipment, broadband connectivity, and devices necessary to engage in telehealth. This program is not a grant program. Eligible health care professionals who are approved for funding will be required to submit an invoicing form and supporting documentation to receive reimbursement for eligible expenses and services.
  • The Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund is also part of the CARES Act. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is beginning to disburse the first part of the $100 billion dollar fund. As part of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, these payments are not loans and will not need to be repaid, although recipients must accept the terms and conditions of the payments. Eligible recipients will receive a portion of the initial $30 billion based on their share of total Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements in 2019.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) has expanded its Accelerated and Advanced Payment Program to a broader group of those who provide care through Medicare Part A or Part B. CMS is authorized to provide accelerated or advance payments during the period of the public health emergency to those who submit a request to the appropriate Medicare Administrative Contractor and meet the required qualifications. CMS has extended the repayment of the accelerated and advance payments to begin 120 days after the date the payment was issued.

(Image: iStock/flySnow)

APA Members Invited to Join AHA Webinar to Focus on Lessons Learned Regarding Behavioral Health Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, April 22, 2-3 p.m. ET

Senior leaders from Baltimore’s Sheppard Pratt Health System, including President and CEO and AHA Trustee Harsh Trivedi, M.D., will discuss how they re-engineered care processes, developed new care protocols for agitated patients, and created a virtual emergency department assessment to decrease the number of psychiatric patients in the ED during the COVID-19 surge. Sheppard Pratt also will discuss its efforts to support staff and build resilience during the crisis. Register for the webinar here.