Action Alert: HF 294
Passed the human resources sub-committee 1/27/2021 as HF 89. Introduced to the house on 1/28/2021. Has not yet been debated. With this call to action, we are asking that the House brings it to the floor for full debate. We need them to see the massive amount of providers in the state are supporting this bill and need the action to ensure we are reimbursed at fair rates. Please flood their inboxes tomorrow, Monday 2/22/21. We can continue these requests throughout the week if needed. IMHCA will send updates if the situation changes.
This bill’s covers the following:
- “Telehealth” means the delivery of health care services through the use of real time interactive audio and video, or other real-time interactive electronic media, regardless of where the health care professional and the covered person are each located. “Telehealth” does not include the delivery of health care services delivered solely through an audio-only telephone, electronic mail message, or facsimile transmission.
- a. a health carrier shall reimburse at the same rate as the health carrier would apply to the same health care services for a mental health condition, illness, injury, or disease provided in person b. a health carrier shall not require that an additional health care professional be located in the same room as a covered person.
- Takes effect immediately and includes retroactive applicability to January 1, 2021
The reasons IMHCA is in support of this bill (this may help you to write your own letter if you do not want to use our template(s)):
- Telehealth has increased, but as in-person billing has drastically decreased.
- Mental health needs are increasing nation-wide due to the impacts of loss and isolation with the pandemic.
- Telehealth allows for people to see experts in certain treatment methods to allow the most appropriate and effective services are provided to those in need.
- Telehealth options have not meant a decreased cost for providers: (1) many providers have increased the training they have obtained in this pandemic and with the use of telehealth to ensure competency to serve members; (2) many providers have maintained offices while also providing telehealth services; (3) increased time has been spent outside of billable time preparing for the switch to telehealth services; (4) upgrades were made to computer and security systems or new devices were purchased as they were needed to perform telehealth practices such as HIPAA compliant documentation storage/signing programs and HIPAA compliant platforms for services.
- Our expertise as mental health providers is not less valuable or less skilled with the implementation of virtual intervention. We are a PROFESSIONAL SERVICE with expertise in mental health and this is what has determined the reimbursement rates for services. We are not any less of an expert using telehealth.
Message to Representatives (template):
As a licensed mental health counselor/licensed marriage and family therapist/licensed social worker/licensed applied behavioral analyst in Iowa, I would like to express my strong support and request your support for HF 294. This is a bill for parity of telehealth reimbursement for mental health services. This payment parity is necessary to ensure that licensed mental health providers in the state are appropriately paid for their expertise and services in the state as they provide for the increased mental health needs of Iowans. This bill has been drafted and passed the human resources committee. It needs your full attention.
Currently, reimbursement is allowed at 75% of coverage for telehealth services as compared to in-person services. Providers across the state have been working diligently to ensure that mental health services have been provided to Iowans in this time of crisis. Though telehealth service use has increased in the past year, in-person services decreased to ensure that providers are doing what they can to slow the spread of COVID-19. These telehealth services have provided exceptional benefits to Iowans at this time including decreased time to get to appointments, increased access to providers, flexibility in scheduling, access to experts in treatment that they may not have had regular access to before telehealth was so widely used.
With this increase in service to Iowans, there has not been a decrease in the provider costs or expertise. As a mental health provider in the state, I have taken time outside of billable hours to arrange for HIPAA compliant telehealth services. This has included… [include a list or statement of what you have personally experienced or done in preparation for this type of service delivery, whether or not you have to maintain an office, expenses incurred, or the way you have connected with clients who have sought out your expertise or benefitted from telehealth services.] Our reimbursement rates should be based on the mental health expertise and professional services we provide to Iowans and should be equivalent to in-person services.
I strongly encourage you to voice your support and move this bill to the floor for full debate. It is necessary to ensure that mental health providers can continue to provide needed services across the state and address the repercussions of this pandemic far into the future. We are experts in the field and should be paid at rates established for this expertise and service.
Your name and credentials
We are targeting the following individuals as republicans in the House. Find your Legislator if you would like to know who represents you and what district you are in: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find Please click their names below for contact information or click the email address to send an email:
House Eddie Andrews 39 Republican Polk email@example.com House Robert P. Bacon 48 Republican Story firstname.lastname@example.org House Terry C. Baxter 8 Republican Hancock email@example.com House Michael R. Bergan 55 Republican Winneshiek firstname.lastname@example.org House Brian Best 12 Republican Carroll email@example.com House Jane Bloomingdale 51 Republican Worth firstname.lastname@example.org House Brooke Boden 26 Republican Warren email@example.com House Jacob Bossman 6 Republican Woodbury firstname.lastname@example.org House Steven P. Bradley 58 Republican Jones email@example.com House Holly Brink 80 Republican Mahaska firstname.lastname@example.org House Dennis Bush 3 Republican Cherokee email@example.com House Mark Cisneros 91 Republican Muscatine firstname.lastname@example.org House Dave Deyoe 49 Republican Story email@example.com House Cecil Dolecheck 24 Republican Ringgold firstname.lastname@example.org House Dean Fisher 72 Republican Tama email@example.com House Joel Fry 27 Republican Clarke firstname.lastname@example.org House Thomas D. Gerhold 75 Republican Benton email@example.com House Garrett Gobble 38 Republican Polk firstname.lastname@example.org House Martin L. Graber 83 Republican Lee email@example.com House Pat Grassley 50 Republican Butler firstname.lastname@example.org House Stan Gustafson 25 Republican Madison email@example.com House Lee Hein 96 Republican Jones firstname.lastname@example.org House Dustin D. Hite 79 Republican Mahaska email@example.com House Steven Holt 18 Republican Crawford firstname.lastname@example.org House Chad Ingels 64 Republican Fayette email@example.com House Jon Jacobsen 22 Republican Pottawattamie firstname.lastname@example.org House Tom Jeneary 5 Republican Plymouth email@example.com House Megan Jones 2 Republican Clay firstname.lastname@example.org House Bobby Kaufmann 73 Republican Cedar email@example.com House David Kerr 88 Republican Louisa firstname.lastname@example.org House Jarad J. Klein 78 Republican Washington email@example.com House John R. Landon 37 Republican Polk firstname.lastname@example.org House Shannon Latham 54 Republican Franklin email@example.com House Brian K. Lohse 30 Republican Polk firstname.lastname@example.org House Shannon Lundgren 57 Republican Dubuque email@example.com House David E. Maxwell 76 Republican Poweshiek firstname.lastname@example.org House Charlie McClintock 95 Republican Linn email@example.com House Ann Meyer 9 Republican Webster firstname.lastname@example.org House Joe Mitchell 84 Republican Henry email@example.com House Gary M. Mohr 94 Republican Scott firstname.lastname@example.org House Norlin Mommsen 97 Republican Clinton email@example.com House Thomas Jay Moore 21 Republican Cass firstname.lastname@example.org House Carter F. Nordman 19 Republican Dallas email@example.com House Anne Osmundson 56 Republican Clayton firstname.lastname@example.org House Ross C. Paustian 92 Republican Scott email@example.com House Sandy Salmon 63 Republican Black Hawk firstname.lastname@example.org House Mike Sexton 10 Republican Calhoun email@example.com House Jeff Shipley 82 Republican Van Buren firstname.lastname@example.org House David Sieck 23 Republican Mills email@example.com House Brent Siegrist 16 Republican Pottawattamie firstname.lastname@example.org House Ray Sorensen 20 Republican Adair email@example.com House Henry Stone 7 Republican Winnebago firstname.lastname@example.org House Phil Thompson 47 Republican Greene email@example.com House Jon Thorup 28 Republican Marion firstname.lastname@example.org House Cherielynn Westrich 81 Republican Wapello email@example.com House Skyler Wheeler 4 Republican Sioux firstname.lastname@example.org House John H. Wills 1 Republican Dickinson email@example.com House Matt W. Windschitl 17 Republican Harrison firstname.lastname@example.org House Gary Worthan 11 Republican Buena Vista email@example.com
Do not delay! LET’S GET LOUD!!