Update Policies and Procedures Manual

Even though the federal government has issued reopening guidelines, it is critical to follow your state-specific guidelines. Be sure to check your state website for guidelines related to medical practices. Also be sure that your Policies and Procedures Manual is updated to include information and instructions pertaining to these guidelines and protocols. See the “Additional Considerations and Helpful Resources” section of the article, “Getting Your Practice Back on Track” for ideas and suggestions.

Malpractice Insurance

There are some federal protections which protect healthcare workers when performing services related to COVID-19; however, it does not cover all situations. The American Medical Association (AMA) wrote a letter to the National Governors Association urging them to extend additional protections. Be sure to contact your medical malpractice liability insurance carrier to ensure that you have sufficient coverage. They may have policies they recommend that you implement. Follow their recommendations to ensure that your organization is sufficiently covered.

Mental Health Screenings and Support

A significant factor of any disaster is the impact on the mental health of the public as well as healthcare providers. Behavioral healthcare providers are currently overwhelmed; based on research from previous disasters, it is extremely likely that mental health needs will only continue to increase. Therefore, all healthcare providers need to pay close attention to their own mental health and that of their staff and their patients at this time. Watch for warning signs and ask questions. 

The American Hospital Association has some self-help resources, and the Mental Health America group has some online screenings. Some screening services can be billed to insurance. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance payers to provide coverage for certain preventive services such as:

Be aware of individual payer preferences regarding codes to bill, frequency of services, and documentation requirements. Some services are for annual screenings, which may have already been provided this year, so verify individual payer coverage. 

We also recommend the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website for a list of screening tools which may be used when providing these services.