Getting behavioral health support during COVID-19
Optum has updated policies for Behavioral Health and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) members.
Optum is taking action to make sure our Behavioral Health and EAP members can get the care they need now as the effects of COVID-19 continue to increase. With many people across the country now practicing social distancing and sheltering in place, there has been a growing demand for telephonic and virtual care visits.
To respond to this ongoing situation, Optum is allowing the use of popular applications for video chat or telephonic care to support our commercial, Medicare and Medicaid members.
This means that for members or providers who do not have access to approved technology typically required to conduct a virtual visit, alternative technologies like telephone visits or video chat services — like Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype — can be used immediately. This also applies to health care providers who are qualified and licensed in accordance with applicable regulations to provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services.
This policy change is effective until April 30, 2020 and we will evaluate an extension as the situation evolves.
No. Providers may take advantage of this policy immediately. However, 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 located here. Optum is expediting new virtual visit attestations and once completed, your information will be displayed in our virtual visit provider directory for members, but virtual care can be provided to a member immediately.OR
In addition to all HIPAA approved telehealth technologies, the new platforms approved for use include Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Zoom (with or without BAA), Google Hangouts video, or Skype. Platforms NOT approved at this time include Facebook Live, Twitch, Snapchat, TikTok and similar video communication applications that are public facing, and should not be used in the provision of telehealth by covered health care providers.OR
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:
For all Optum Behavioral Health and EAP commercial plans, any telehealth services provided via a real-time audio and/or video communication system can be billed for members at home or another location.
For all UHC Medicaid plans, any originating site requirements that may apply under United Behavioral Health reimbursement policies are waived so that telehealth services provided via a real-time audio and/or video communication system can be billed for members at home or another location.
For all UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part B plans, including Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans, any originating site requirements that may apply under Original Medicare are waived, so that telehealth services provided via a real-time audio and/or video communication system can be billed for members at home or another location.OR