NYSPA Asks Governor to Intervene To Correct Parity Violation


NYSPA recently contacted Governor Cuomo to ask for his assistance in eliminating Value Options' recently re-instituted prior authorization requirement for psychotherapy benefits under the Empire Plan, the health plan for state employees and their families.  As the new behavioral health administrator for the Empire Plan, Value Options announced, effective January 1, 2014, a new prior authorization requirement to be imposed on all psychotherapy services that exceed a 10-visit limit.  As described in more detail in our letter to Governor Cuomo, NYSPA strongly opposes the prior authorization requirement because it represents a clear violation of federal parity law and regulations.  A copy of NYSPA's letter to Governor Cuomo may be viewed here.

 

Attorney General Settles Mental Health Parity Case

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has settled a case with a major health insurer, MVP Health Care which he said had been denying an inordinate amount of mental health claims. To read a copy of the article click here

 

CMS Announces 2014 RVU Values Substantially Increased for Psychotherapy Add-on Codes

On November 29, 2013, CMS issued its interim final rule establishing Medicare RVU values for 2014.  CMS accepted all the increased values recommended by the RUC for the new psychiatry psychotherapy codes to be used only in combination with an E/M code. 

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Court Finds Plausible Parity Violations by United but Requires Claims To Be Brought Against Plan Sponsors

On October 31, 2013, United States District Judge Colleen McMahon dismissed a class action mental health parity lawsuit brought by four patients, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and NYSPA (on behalf of its members and their patients) against UnitedHealth Group

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NY Times Highlights NYSPA Class Action Lawsuit

The New York Times recently published an article entitled "Lacking Rules, Insurers Balk at Paying for Intensive Psychiatric Care," which addresses the failure of health insurance carriers to cover the cost of care for individuals with serious mental illness. 
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August 27th I-STOP Deadline Rapidly Approaching

Starting August 27, 2013, all physicians who prescribe Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances will be required to consult

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New York Health Benefit Exchange Webinar

On August 14, 2013, the New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians hosted a webinar

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HHS Issues HIPAA Guidance Document on Sharing Information Related to Mental Health


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released a new guidance document detailing how the HIPAA Privacy Rule operates to protect individual privacy rights with respect to mental health information.  The guidance document clarifies when HIPAA permits health care providers to communicate with a patient's family members, friends, or others involved in the patient's care, depending on whether the patient is an adult or a minor and consider the patient's capacity to agree or object to the sharing of their information.  In addition, the guidance further clarifies how providers may communicate with family members, law enforcement, or others when the patient presents a serious and imminent threat of harm to self or others.

The guidance document may be downloaded by clicking here

 

New Medicaid Dose Optimization Initiative to Take Effect November 14, 2013

The Medicaid Fee-for-Service program recently established a new Dose Optimization program, which will seek to reduce prescription costs by limiting the amount of pills a patient needs to take each day, while retaining daily dosing amountsThis initiative is expected to result in significant cost-savings for the Medicaid program, since, in many cases, pharmacies charge per pill dispensed.

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NYSPA/APA Successful in Reversing Improper Denials of Claims Submitted To UBH/Optum

NYSPA was recently contacted by two members who had been receiving improper denials from United Behavioral Health/Optum for claims for the new combination psychotherapy CPT codes (e.g., 99212+90836), Optum was refusing to provide reimbursement for the psychotherapy add-on code because the provider had failed to document start and stop times for the psychotherapy portion of the session alone (as opposed to the E/M portion). This practice, clearly in violation of CPT, was being applied to both in-network and out-of-network benefits. 

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PQRS Clarification

In response to our recent website article on the new PQRS 2015 payment reduction, NYSPA has received several inquiries from members regarding the use of Measure #9 (Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Antidepressant Medication During Acute Phase for Patients with MDD)

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Avoiding the 2015 Medicare PQRS Payment Reduction


All physicians who treat Medicare patients and who fail to report required PQRS quality measures during the 2013 calendar year will be subject to a 1.5% payment reduction in 2015. 

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Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Double-Copay Issue


In response to member reports, NYSPA recently contacted Empire BlueCross BlueShield
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Psychologists To Pursue Prescribing Authority in New York

We are taking this opportunity to communicate directly to our members about an issue of critical importance.  Organized psychology has indicated its intent to pursue prescribing authority for psychologists in New York State in the coming legislative session

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Obama Administration Issues Final Rule Implementing Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

On Friday, November 8, 2013, the Obama Administration issued a Final Rule implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).  In general, NYSPA and the APA are pleased with the Final Rule, which includes clarification on many important issues, including insurer transparency, nonquantitative treatment limitations and reimbursement rates, among others.  

To read the APA Talking Points on the Final Rule, please click here.
To read the APA Talking Points on the Parity Law in general, please click here.   


 

DOH Establishes Transition Period for I-Stop Compliance

As you know, the new I-Stop duty to consult goes into effect on August 27, 2013. The Department of Health recently posted the below message on its website, which indicates that all practitioners unable to establish an HCS account and access the PMP despite good faith efforts may continue to write prescriptions for Schedule II, III and IV medications.  DOH expects this period of transition to last through October 2013.

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Ann M. Sullivan, MD Appointed Next OMH Commissioner







NYSPA is proud to report that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the appointment of Ann M. Sullivan, MD as Acting Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) in November 2013.  

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New OMH Regional Centers of Excellence 


The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) recently announced its Regional Centers of Excellence Plan 
a plan that calls for major changes in State-operated mental health services, representing a shift from inpatient services to community-based services.

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Significant HIPAA Changes to Take Effect September 23, 2013

Earlier this year, HHS issued a Final Rule that makes significant changes to the existing HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification rules.  The compliance date for the Final Rule is September 23, 2013. 

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