MPS Event Calendar

 

Annual Meeting

The MPS Annual Meeting, originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 21 has been cancelled and rescheduled to recognize our Award winners and Distinguished Fellows on Tuesday, November 10th, circumstances allowing. Please hold this date in your calendar.  Our election will still take place online beginning March 30th.

A Virtual Townhall on Covid-19:  Lessons From Disaster Psychiatry and the Front Lines

Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020          Time:  6:30 - 8:00 pm

Please join us for an MPS town hall open to all MPS members in order to discuss principles of disaster psychiatry but also highlight the experiences of being on the front lines in delivering care. 

More Information about this event. Click HERE to register. PRE-REGISTRATION is required in advance for this meeting as space is limited. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Dear MPS Members, 

We hope you and yours are well and congratulate you on your intense focus on your patients and the health of the public during this national and commonwealth state of emergency.  MPS is working hard as well to address the concerns that our members have been sending our way, particularly around telehealth, so as to meet the needs of not only individuals potentially ill with COVID-19, but also for the general public which is heeding calls for social distancing and thus not traveling for much-needed mental health appointments.

We started our advocacy efforts with Blue Cross Blue Shield, but as the crisis expanded, likewise expanded our advocacy to the Governor and Secretary of EOHHS and leader of the Coronavirus Command Center.

We sent an e-mail to Governor Baker’s office, advocating for "all willing providers" to be able to deliver telehealth services at in network rates.

Below are links to various guidance regarding telehealth, some of which raise more questions than they answer. We have been working in close consultation with our MPS Counsel Jim Hilliard and our Legislative Liaison, Lisa Simonetti, who have both been enormously helpful in getting questions answered.

In summary, the use of telehealth has been expanded for the duration of the state of emergency to cover the use of previously unacceptable platforms such as telephone, Skype, FaceTime, etc. for all insurance products including MassHealth and Medicare, third party insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and private pay.  HIPAA regulations from CMS have been loosened to facilitate patient care via the delivery of telehealth. With the help of Steven Locke, MD, MPS member and Health Care System and Finance Committee member, we have developed a generic consent form for adoption by members for the use of telehealth. This document has been reviewed by MPS counsel for use in this pandemic.  It covers the risks of use of non-HIPAA compliant platforms, but that should be explicitly discussed with members. Here is a link.

Members have also been inquiring about telehealth platforms.  Although the current guidance allows for non-HIPAA compliant platforms, members may be interested in trying HIPAA compliant platforms for use beyond the period of the pandemic. Although the MPS does not endorse or recommend platforms for telemedicine usage, a member psychiatrist, Todd Holzman, MD used the following free platform DOXY.ME and found it to be satisfactory. In general, the importance of choosing a platform for use extending beyond the current state of emergency, is that it is HIPAA compliant and it conforms to your type of practice. (additional resources below)

Additional links to guidance issued about telehealth can be found here: MPS Resource Links

As there is a myriad of opinions and advice being circulated to the general public and providers by almost everyone with an opinion, we continue to believe in science-based and evidence-based resources.

Foremost, the CDC and our local department of public health on whom MMS and MPS are relying for up to date guidelines and information. The APA is still developing resources regarding caring for mental health patients. 

APA advises on mental health care delivery resources during this crisis
CDC advises on stress management
CDC speaks to evidence-based communication strategies in times of disaster

MPS will be updating our website during this pandemic to provide information about changes in regulations by state and federal agencies. During this time of crisis, MPS’s thoughts are with our patients and members.


Sally Reyering, M.D.
President-elect


Marilyn Price, MD
President, MPS

From the Governor - COVID-19 ESSENTIAL SERVICES

EXHIBIT A OF THE ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR ASSURING CONTINUED OPERATION OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES IN THE COMMONWEALTH, CLOSING CERTAIN WORKPLACES AND PROHIBITING GATHERINGS OF MORE THAN 10 PEOPLE - March 23, 2020

Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Tuesday, April 7th at noon. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely. Click Here for the full text of Exhibit A.


Risk Management Resources
American Professional Agency, Inc.
Professional Risk Management Services – bulletins


Resources from the MPS Disaster Committee:
Coronavirus Resources
Massachusetts Medical Society resources COVID-19

Medicare Telehealth Code List for CY 2019 and 2020
Bulletin 2020-02 (COVID-19)
Masshealth All-Provider Bulletin
Covid19 FAQs 3-6-2020
Telemedicine Payment Policy Medical


AG Healey Announces Groundbreaking Agreements that Expand Access to
Behavioral Health Services for More Than One Million Residents

“The Massachusetts Psychiatric Society applauds Attorney General Healey for her admirable work to help the residents of the Commonwealth gain access to treatment and knowledge and transparency about their mental health and substance use benefits,” said Marilyn Price, MD, President, Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. “The mental health parity investigation is a tremendous endeavor. Persons seeking mental health care should have the same access to timely care as they would with any other illness.”

AG Office Press Release                 Boston Business Journal article


Massachusetts Senators Spilka, Rodrigues, Friedman and Cyr rally with invited guests at the State House before debate on An Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health




The Massachusetts Psychiatric Society (MPS) represents the majority of Psychiatrists in Massachusetts. MPS members are Physicians who are committed to providing outstanding medical/psychiatric care through accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment of mental health and emotional illnesses. We seek to achieve this goal by promoting public and professional education, legislation that addresses the needs and rights of the mentally and emotionally ill, and by advocating for the allocation of public and private resources for treatment, research, and education. We provide a supportive and informative professional community for our members.

The Massachusetts Psychiatric Society (MPS) is a District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The Massachusetts Psychiatric Society (MPS) is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities.  If you have trouble accessing any of MPS’s web resources, please contact us at 781-237-8100 for assistance.