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COVID-19 Resources

IPS is striving to provide our members with timely information and resources for the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we recognize that this public health emergency is rapidly evolving, with frequent changes in state and federal policies and regulations. We recommend members also check state and federal websites below for the most up-to-date information.
State Resources and Guidance
State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH): COVID-19
Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS)
Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS)
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)
Illinois COVID-19 Questions and Guidance: Call 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV
Governor Pritzker’s Administration has a daily press conference for COVID-19 response at 230 pm, WATCH HERE.
Physicians can request to receive COVID-19 alerts from the State of Illinois Rapid Electronic Notification System (SIREN) by emailing dph.siren@illinois.gov

National Resources and Guidance
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): COVID-19
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): Coronavirus (COVID-19) Partner Toolkit
National Institutes of Health (NIH): Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): COVID-19 Information
Food and Drug Administration: COVID-19
White House Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force

Allied and Partner Organizations

IPS is proud to work with several other physician and mental health organizations, such as our parent organization the American Psychiatric Association (APA), to provide updated COVID-19 resources for members!
Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS): Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Physicians and Patients
American Psychiatric Association (APA) Coronavirus Resources
American Medical Association (AMA): COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus) resource center for physicians
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): COVID-19 Information and Resources

Advocacy and Legislation
IPS has been working hard to ensure that medical coverage and new policies related to COVID-19 also address mental health coverage. We have been included in conversations with Illinois Medicaid and BCBSIL as they move to loosen restrictions regarding telehealth.

IPS provided a letter to Governor Pritzker asking him to have commercial insurance and Medicaid cover telehealth and Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order from March 19, 2020 said that the reimbursement would be the same as in-person treatment.

On April 1, Governor Pritzker issued an executive order granting healthcare providers immunity under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act from civil liability for any injury or death that occurs while providing healthcare services in response to COVID-19, unless providers acted in gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Nationally, on March 27, 2020 the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economics Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. A $2.2 trillion dollar economic stimulus package, this Act has numerous provisions affecting patients, physicians, and healthcare systems. 

APA on the federal level continues to advocate for access to psychiatric services, as well as psychiatrist safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Current efforts include lobbying CMS to ease telehealth restrictions during COVID-19 to reimburse for telephone at the same rate as in-person visits, as well as ensuring PPE access for psychiatrists. Stay updated about APA’s COVID-19 advocacy.

APA Praises Mental Health Provisions in COVID-19 Stimulus Aid Package
ISMS: COVID-19-Related Financial Resources and Opportunities for Physician Practices
Physician Practices: Learn how to get help under CARES Act
CARES Act Questions and Answers: Hospitals and Health Systems
NAMI: Information On The CARES Act For People With Mental Illness

Insurance and Telehealth
Governor Pritzker's Executive Telehealth Order requires all health insurance issuers regulated by the Department of Insurance to cover telehealth services. The Order applies to provisions of mental health & substance use disorder treatment and general healthcare. The technology authorized to be utilized goes beyond traditional telehealth methods to include: Cellular phones; Facebook Messenger; Google Hangout; FaceTime, or; Skype. These methods do not have to meet the HIPAA standards per the Waiver issued by the federal Office of Civil Rights. The services may be provided by any in-network physician, APRNs, psychologists, clinical social workers, other mental health providers, and other substance use disorder treatment providers who are licensed, registered, certified and/or authorized to practice. The health insurance issuers shall NOT impose utilization review requirements that are unnecessary OR impose any treatment limitations that are more stringent than the requirement imposed upon in-person care. There are also NO PRIOR AUTHORIZATION requirements allowed to be imposed for in-network providers. Finally, no cost sharing requirements may be imposed upon patients under this order.
Insurance Carriers
Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois (BCBSIL)
CountyCare Health Plan
IlliniCare Health
Meridian Health Plan
Molina Healthcare
United Healthcare

Clinical Resources
The APA is working constantly to provide updated practice guidance for COVID-19, both on a national and state-by-state level.

For APA members, APA’s Practice Management HelpLine provides one-on-one assistance for practice management needs: telehealth, coding, documentation, reimbursement, starting and closing a practice, and more! Live help is available Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET, or leave a message on the HelpLine 24/7 and someone will get back to you within 24 hours.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has curated a collection of articles and other resources on COVID-19.

Patients with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) pose unique considerations during COVID-19. APA President-Elect Dr. Jeffrey Geller and Dr. Margarita Abi Zeid Daou offer guidance on SMI patients during COVID-19.
SMI Adviser, an APA and SAMHSA initiative, offers same-day consultations with a team of national experts on major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Ask questions about medications including LAIs, telehealth, resources for families, and more! This is a completely confidential and free service.

SMI Adviser also offers a Knowledge Base answering COVID-19 related clinical questions, including on long-acting injectibles (LAIS).

Outpatient and Telepsychiatry
Ensuring Successful Telepsychiatry Program Implementation: Critical Components and Considerations
Telemental Health in the Context of a Pandemic: the COVID-19 Experience
APA: Telepsychiatry and COVID-19
PRMS: Risk Management Resources for Telepsychiatry
American Professional Agency, Inc: Telehealth and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Substance Treatment
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is now allowing telehealth for medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Due to social distancing guidelines, many patients are transitioning to virtual groups:
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Online Meetings
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Virtual
Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Online
Buddhist Recovery Network: Online Meetings
12Step.org: Online Meetings
In the Rooms: Free Online Recovery Tool with 130 weekly online meetings

Inpatient and ECT
APA and the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH) jointly host a recorded discussion on how to address COVID-19 across inpatient, residential, and other non-ambulatory settings. Watch HERE.
Five Strategies to Protect Patients, Staff in Psychiatric Inpatient Units From COVID-19

On March 18, CMS released recommendations on the delay of adult elective surgeries and non-essential procedures during the COVID-19 outbreak, to preserve PPE, beds, and ventilators. APA considers ECT an essential procedure.
Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry
The Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (ACLP) has collected several resources to support Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrists with issues related to COVID-19.
ACLP has also launched a listserv dedicated to C-L Psychiatry and COVID-19 issues. The list is not restricted to only Academy members; any medical care provider may join. To subscribe, send a blank email to COVID-19-subscribe-request@list.clpsychiatry.org. You will receive a confirmation request in response. Once confirmed, you will start receiving list emails and can email the list yourself.
MindCare Solutions: Tips for Consult-Liaison Telepsychiatry during COVID-19
Physician Wellness and Support
American Medical Association: Caring for our Caregivers during COVID-19
Headspace meditation app: FREE for physicians (need NPI# to register)
Several medical schools in Illinois have graciously organized volunteering to help healthcare workers and their families:
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Chicago)
Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (Downers Grove)

400+ psychiatrist volunteers, including IPS members, have created an emotional support line for physician colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Free, confidential, no appointments necessary, open 7 days a week 7 am-11 am CST.
Several restaurants and businesses are supporting physicians and healthcare workers!
Starbucks is providing free hot and iced coffee to healthcare workers and first responders, just show your medical ID.
Costco is temporarily allowing priority access to warehouses for Costco members who are healthcare workers and first responders: present Costco card and ID to move to the front of any line to enter.
Nando’s Peri-Peri is providing free meals to healthcare workers with a hospital ID:
Krispy Kreme is giving free dozens of doughnuts on Mondays to healthcare workers with ID:

Patients, Families, and Communities
University of Illinois Psychology Department: Mental Health Resources for Students
NAMI: COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide
Immigrant Family Mental Health Advocacy Program: COVID-19 Resources for Immigrant Children and Families

Volunteering and Philanthropy
FEMA: How to Help

Plasma Donations from Recovered COVID-19 Patients: The Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from COVID-19 and may be able to donate plasma to help current patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease. Register Here.

If you are a psychiatrist and would like to volunteer your time for the Physician Support Line (https://www.physiciansupportline.com/), please send an email to admin@physiciansupportline.com. Include your name, state of licensure, and contact information. Note that you do not need any special malpractice insurance to be a volunteer.
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