Strengthening IDENTITY | Preserving INTEGRITY | Advocating PARITY
Below is an update on the COVID-19 epidemic.
It appears that the number of cases is spreading, close to 500 with the Seattle area being the heaviest hit (128 cases, 19 deaths as of this writing). We really don't know when the situation will improve as various cities are just starting to see cases and the tests for confirmation of COVID-19 are still hard to get.
I wanted to pass on some things that members are doing to protect themselves and their patients in addition to the list I sent out last Monday. Some are cover fabric chairs and couches, even leather ones, with plastic/vinyl material which is easier to clean with antiseptic spray.
It is important to make sure that any DIY hand antiseptic is at least 70% alcohol, the rest aloe vera gel, with some drops of aromatic oils like tea tree or lavender; unfortunately many areas are completely out of alcohol and aloe vera. Amazon can send in a week.
Those most at risk of being harmed by COVID-19 are people with underlying health conditions and those over 65. Traveling is not recommended for this group in particular.
Many members have asked about whether Medicare will cover telemental health sessions. The bill signed on Friday provides $8.3 billion for a variety of ways to address the virus but there is no clear guidance on whether CMS will expand their coverage of telemental health yet. I will let you know when this becomes available. Sen. Ron Wyden did get a provision in to support telemental health but no specific enforcement. As for private insurers there is no clarity there either. I suggest having patients request that telemental health be covered if they have private insurance; that is the most likely way to get coverage.
This is a time of anxiety in our personal and professional lives. We should try to remember that we are all in this together and hopefully can help each other get through it.
Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice, Government Relations Chair
Clinical Social Work AssociationThe National Voice of Clinical Social WorkStrengthening IDENTITY | Preserving INTEGRITY | Advocating PARITY
PO Box 10Garrisonville, Virginia 22463