BREAKING: Optum Behavioral Health approves IMMEDIATE use of audio or visual technology amid COVID-19 until April 30, 2020!

Dear Providers,

Effective immediately, Optum Behavioral Health is expanding policies around telehealth services for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part B, Medicaid and commercial membership, making it easier for patients to connect with their behavioral health provider. Optum Behavioral Health will waive the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s (CMS) originating site restriction for Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and commercial members, so that care providers can bill for telehealth services performed while a patient is at home. This change in policy is effective until April 30, 2020, but we may extend that date as necessary and will communicate through all appropriate channels.

Providers are responsible to provide telehealth services in accordance with OCR’s Notice and may use:

  • HIPAA-approved telehealth technologies
  • The following platforms may be used during the current nationwide public health emergency: Popular applications that allow for video chats — including Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype — may be utilized to provide telehealth without risk that OCR might seek to impose a penalty for noncompliance with the HIPAA rules related to the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.
    • Providers are encouraged to notify patients that these third-party applications potentially introduce privacy risks, and providers should enable all available encryption and privacy modes when using such applications.
  • These platforms are NOT approved: Facebook Live, Twitch, Snapchat, TikTok, and similar video communication applications are public facing, and should not be used in the provision of telehealth to Optum Behavioral Health plan members by covered health care providers.

In order for a virtual visit provider to be listed in our virtual visit provider directory for members, a provider must complete a virtual visit attestation form. Optum Behavioral Health is processing new virtual visit attestations in the order they are received as quickly as possible and once completed, your information will be displayed in our virtual visit provider directory for members, but, during the nationwide public health emergency, virtual care can be provided to a member.
This policy change applies to members whose benefit plans cover telehealth services, and will allow those patients to connect with their provider through audio/video visits. Standard member cost sharing and benefit plan terms apply.  

For further details please contact Optum Behavioral Health.


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