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


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. 


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


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. 

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


New York Health Benefit Exchange Webinar

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


The SAFE Act:  Guidelines for Complying With the New Mental Health Reporting Requirement

The Secure Ammunition and Firearms Security (SAFE) Act, signed into law earlier this year, is a gun control statute that substantially strengthens rules


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.


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. 


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)


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. 


Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Double-Copay Issue

In response to member reports, NYSPA recently contacted Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Glenn Martin, MD

NYSPA Congratulates 

Glenn Martin, M.D., on his election to the position of APA Assembly Recorder. 


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.


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.  


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.


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. 


NYSPA Provides Testimony on SAFE Act Reporting Requirement 

On May 31, 2013, NYSPA presented testimony at a Senate hearing regarding the impact of the SAFE Act mental health reporting requirement. 

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