Attention Psychiatrists in All States
Interstate Licensing Program: Did you know there is an Interstate Medical Licensure Compact? While it does not apply to all states, 34 states, the District of Columbia and the Territory of Guam are currently participating in the program. Approximately 80% of U.S. physicians meet the criteria for licensure through the Compact. It offers an expedited path to licensure for qualified physicians in multiple states. For details, visit their website at: https://www.imlcc.org/
Enforcement Actions: On March 28, 2022, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) announced four new enforcement actions against healthcare providers for HIPAA violations.1 One of the enforcement actions stemmed from a Right of Access complaint filed against a California psychiatrist. In this instance, a patient mailed several letters to the practice every year in July, starting in 2013 with the last request occurring in 2018, requesting a copy of their medical records. The patient did not receive a response until 2019 when they traveled to the office in person and paid a fee for the records. The psychiatry practice received a $28,000 civil monetary penalty as a result in the delay.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. This new three-digit telephone number went live on July 16, 2022. The original 10-digit number, 1-800-273-8255, is still in effect as well. Additional information can be found at: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/faqs#about-988-basics.
Maternal Mental Health Hotline: The U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the launch of the Maternal Mental Health Hotline on May 8, 2022, which is a confidential, toll-free hotline for expecting and new mothers experiencing mental health challenges. The hotline is accessible by phone or text at 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746) in English and Spanish. TTY Users can use a preferred relay service or dial 711 and then 1-833-943-5746. The Maternal Mental Health Hotline is not intended as an emergency response line and individuals in behavioral health crisis should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 988 (as mentioned above).
Public Health Emergency: The Public Health Emergency (PHE) was extended for an additional 90 days. The PHE was set to expire on July 15, and the latest 90-day extension means most of the flexibilities and waivers tied to the PHE can continue through mid-October. At the time of publication, future extensions are not certain. However, it was announced that Administration will provide a 60-day notice before any PHE expirations.
Attention West Virginia Psychiatrists:
Effective June 9, 2022, the West Virginia Medical Practice Act amendments took place. These amendments require physicians licensed by the West Virginia Board of Medicine to report certain incidents to the board within thirty (30) days of the incident or when the authorized individual gained knowledge of the incident. These incidents comprise the following:
(a) exercising influence within a provider-physician relationship for the purpose of engaging a patient in sexual activity;
(b) engaging in sexual misconduct with a patient;
(c) violating established medical or professional protocols regarding the transfer of controlled substances or prescribing controlled substances;
(d) engaging in conduct which jeopardizes patient safety; or,
(e) other gross misconduct.