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COVID-19 Updates: March 17, 2020

March 17, 2020 3:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

At CALPCC we are working to keep up with the fast changes that are happening in the State when it comes to the Coronavirus Pandemic. From time to time in the coming days, you will receive some communications from us that are updates from the agencies that we partner with.

There have been many questions about what the associations (LPCC,LMFT, and NASW) are doing about tele-therapy. CALPCC has signed on to several letters that are asking Governor Newsom to ensure that tele-therapy can be completed in most cases with the appropriate reimbursement. We will keep you updated as we know more. Please scroll below to see a variety of updates. 

News from Kim Madsen at the BBS regarding testing:

Our testing vendor, Pearson Vue, announced that effective March 17th, 2020 and continuing until April 16, 2020, all Pearson Vue owned examination sites will be closed due the concerns related to the COVID-19. The Pearson Vue owned sites are the only sites we use for BBS examinations. Pearson Vue will contact the scheduled candidates to provide them notification and instructions regarding scheduling appointments after April 16.

BBS will work with all examination candidates to ensure that they remain eligibility to test and are able to continue to work. Please click here for more information.

News from our Lobbyist, GV Ayers:

Yesterday, the Governor issued an advisory urging those over the age of 65 and anyone with a chronic disease to isolate themselves until further notice.  The Governor’s directive also asked for the closure of all bars, brewpubs and wineries and directed restaurants to reduce their capacity by 50% (Although the Governor now says no restaurant service inside the restaurant) and offer take-out and curbside ordering.  While these directives are not enforceable by law, the Governor could use executive authority to mandate them if the directives are not followed.   This afternoon, six SF Bay Area counties have imposed a 3-week “shelter in place” policy for all residents, regardless of age.  Only essential businesses will remain open in those counties during this time. 

Late this afternoon, the Governor asked the Legislature to allow for emergency legislation (budget bills) to be considered in order to respond to the pandemic.  The bill (SB 89) will increase hospital capacity, bed capacity, childcare facilities, will purchase hotels and motels to deal with those affected, including individuals, non-profits, small businesses – appropriating $500M and up to $1B in general funds to achieve those goals.  SB 115 will focus on supporting public and charter schools, childcare services, and sanitizing school sites.  Both houses approved these measures and they will be sent to the Governor’s desk tonight.  The Senate passed Resolution 86, allowing for Senate administrative procedure changes during emergencies, and allow for standing committees to convene remotely, if necessary. 

Just moments ago, the Senate & Assembly adjourned for an extended recess and will reconvene after Easter on Monday, April 13th.  This recess could be extended if necessary.  Of course, the recess will delay bill hearings that were scheduled in the next 30 days and perhaps this action will require adjusting legislative deadlines to account for the many bills that will need to be heard in committee this spring.  Legislators, staff and the Administration will still engage in legislative and district business but that work will likely be conducted remotely or outside of the Capitol building.  Understanding everyone is affected by COVID-19 in a variety of ways, if there’s anything I can do to help or an important issue needs to be raised, please let me know at info@calpcc.org

Click here to view the State’s Directive/Guidance to Fight COVID-19 that might be useful for your family and for members.

Click here to hear from the Centers for Disease Control

Click here to hear the latest update from the Board of Behavioral Sciences regarding Telehealth

From the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services:

OCR Announces Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced, effective immediately, that it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will waive potential penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients through everyday communications technologies during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.

This exercise of discretion applies to widely available communications apps, such as FaceTime or Skype, when used in good faith for any telehealth treatment or diagnostic purpose, regardless of whether the telehealth service is directly related to COVID-19.

In support of this action, OCR will be providing further guidance explaining how covered health care providers can use remote video communication products and offer telehealth to patients responsibly.

"We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency," said Roger Severino, OCR Director. "We are especially concerned about reaching those most at risk, including older persons and persons with disabilities," Severino added.

The Notification of Enforcement Discretion on Telehealth remote communications may be found here

For more information on HIPAA and COVID-19, see OCR's February 2020 Bulletin may be found here

Health IT Security Article can be found here




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