Important Updates for Mental Health Providers Regarding COVID-19

4/28/2020

​Mental Health & Cultural Supports

The current COVID-19 pandemic may cause emotional distress, anxiety, fear and other difficult feelings. It may also contribute to pre-existing mental health and wellness challenges. The FNHA has gathered a list of helpful mental health and cultural supports that are available for our clients, including culturally safe crisis lines, cultural support workers and other resources.

Telehealth Access & Claims Processing During COVID-19

To support continued access to counselling services, we are updating the provider list to identify which providers deliver telehealth services over the phone or through videoconferencing.

Please fill out this survey to be included in FNHA's provider list offering telehealth services and to update your contact information during COVID-19. The provider list will be updated on a weekly basis.

We also heard that some providers do not currently have access to their regular fax line to receive prior approval decisions. Prior approvals and invoices can be emailed during this state of emergency to HB.MentalHealth@fnha.ca.

FNHA Telehealth Guidelines

On March 20, 2020, we sent a notice requiring that providers suspend all travel into communities to avoid the potential spread of COVID-19 to our clients in remote and isolated communities. Additionally, all non-urgent, in-person mental health appointments should be cancelled indefinitely.

Telehealth includes counselling services delivered over the phone or videoconferencing. Text and email communications are not considered telehealth and are not billable services.

Before delivering services via telehealth or telephone, providers must:

 ​ensure that they have the ability to effectively provide services via telehealth or telephone;

 use professional judgment to determine if telehealth or telephone is therapeutically appropriate for the client;

 ask the client if they are open to receiving counselling via telehealth or telephone;

 follow the telehealth standards set by their professional body; and

 keep a call log/calendar, confirming that the session occurred, its duration and the client's name for auditing purposes (only submit if requested).

Professional Telehealth Standards and Resources

We want to ensure that providers stay updated with the latest developments related to COVID-19 (coronavirus). The following are recent updates for mental health providers in BC:

 BC Association of Clinical Counsellors

 Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association has guidelines on the use of technology in counselling and psychotherapy and recommended resources

 College of Psychologists of BC has provided checklists for telepsychology and a telepsychology assessment to guide registrants

 College of Social Workers of BC

Thank you for your cooperation to safely provide counselling services for our clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. We'll keep you informed of any updates and check our website for the most up-to-date forms. Please contact Health Benefits Provider Relations at provider@fnha.ca or 1-855-550-5454 if you have any questions.

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