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APA News: COVID-19 Updates

  • APA announced that the 2020 Annual Meeting will not be held as scheduled in the wake of numerous travel restrictions and public health guidance associated with the pandemic spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). In lieu of the Annual Meeting, APA is working with speakers to develop APA On Demand 2020. For more information on Annual Meeting refunds, MOC and more, please visit the Annual Meeting 2020 FAQ page.
  • APA applauded Congress for passing $8 billion in emergency funding to address the spread of COVID-19. A key provision of the bill temporarily lifts restrictions on Medicare access to telehealth services, such as live videoconference consultations with doctors. APA’s full statement is available here.
  • APA, along with America’s Frontline Physicians, recommended further actions to address the continued spread of COVID-19. You can read what federal and state authorities can do now to support access and coverage for COVID-19 treatment and prevention here.
COVID-19 Mental Health Impacts:  
Resources for Psychiatrists, Patients & Families, and Health Care/Community Leaders

With COVID-19 evolving rapidly across the world, APA’s Committee on Psychiatric Dimensions of Disasters and the APA’s Council on International Psychiatry compiled a comprehensive list of resources for psychiatrists. The resources cover not only the physical impact of the coronavirus, but on its potential mental health and psychosocial issues and responses. The page also has resources for patients, families, and healthcare and community leaders who are impacted by the virus and self-quarantine procedures.  
You can access the full list of resources at APA’s Coronavirus Information Hub
Telepsychiatry and COVID-19
On March 6, 2020, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act was signed into law. This statute gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to waive geographic and originating site Medicare telehealth reimbursement restrictions for mental health services overall, during certain emergency periods. 
CMS released guidance on March 17, 2020, that now allows patients to be seen via live videoconferencing in their homes, without having to travel to a qualifying “originating site” for Medicare telehealth encounters, regardless of geographic location. 
You can find more information on using telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak, including a free webinar on Telepsychiatry in the Era of COVID-19, at APA’s Resources on Telepsychiatry and COVID-19 page.
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