telehealth update, BCBS, good news

Richard Sethre, Psy D , L P. 6 years ago in Industry News/Discussion updated 6 years ago 2

Greetings to user group members interested in telehealth services.

There was a previous group discussion about telehealth that included concern about BCBS of MN's policy, which specifically excludes covering telehealth services provided when the recipient is in their home. This obviously is a problem because their PMAP product, Blue Plus, must be in compliance with DHS guidelines and DHS specifically states that telehealth services provided when the recipient is in their home is a covered benefit. 

So, I knew that BCBS's policy was a problem.  I tried to work with a BCBS representative, who basically hemmed and hawed, eventually acknowledged that their Blue Plus policies needed to comply with MCHP policies, but nothing changed. This took a couple of months. So,  contacted DHS last week, she requested a copy of my email discussion thread with BCBS, and a few hours after I sent this into  I had a call from a BCBS staff. . She asked a few questions and promised to get back to me "soon." The  next day I had another call from her. She was very apologetic, acknowledged that their policy was wrong, and she specifically stated that we can bill BCBS Blue Plus for telehealth services when the member receives them in the home. 

This leaves some questions about other BCBS "commercial" policies.  She said that most of their commercial products cover telehealth services but it will be necessary to check each contract to make sure that is not an exclusion for telehealth when the recipient is in their home. 

Richard Sethre, PsyD, LP

Thank you Richard for this update! 

Do you or anyone else have a mental health criteria on what electronic requirements and any other requirements, that are needed to perform Telehealth.  We are not providing Telehealth yet, but looking more into it.

Thank you in advance.

Greetings to Paula and the rest of the group interested in telehealth, or telebehavioral health services. Paul is asking excellent questions. I am in the process of learning about these issues. I have taken a couple of very helpful online courses from the Telebehavioral Health Institute. I have learned A LOT about risk management, informed consent for this service, necessary paperwork, and even skills for this service such as using a camera rather than communicating in person.  In other words, that is a lot more to setting up telehealth/telebehavioral services than just getting a webcam and contracting with an online telehealth platform.  I have posted on my website about what I have learned so far, and plan to do more posts in the near future. 

Richard Sethre