As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact many communities, The National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. and Affiliates is closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation based on the guidance provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) for COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and both the D.C. Department of Health and Virginia Department of Health.
This page will serve as a resource for our constituents regarding changes to any of our services or programs and will be updated regularly as the situation changes.
Currently, Pearson VUE is continuing to manage the re-opening of their test centers worldwide in a manner that is safe for all candidates. Please visit the Pearson VUE website for updates regarding the impact on examination schedules and the safety measures that they are taking at their centers. We trust that these procedures will allow for continued adherence to high testing standards, as well as the safety of the candidates. If you have concerns or questions regarding rescheduling an exam, face mask requirements, or any other safety measure at testing centers, please contact Pearson VUE directly.
We have coordinated with universities and institutions to offer a web-based version of this examination. Students who did not choose this delivery option can schedule their examination through Pearson VUE. Please visit their website for updates regarding the impact on examination schedules and the safety measures that they are taking at their centers.
We realize that changes in your school settings can affect classes, internships, and potentially graduation. If in the coming days and weeks you have concerns regarding completing your MFP Fellowship deliverables, please reach out to NBCC Foundation staff at email@example.com. We will work with each of you on a case-by-case basis to find the most effective solution to your specific situation.
In light of global health concerns because of COVID-19, we will deliver our annual Bridging the Gap Symposium: Eliminating Mental Health Disparities as a virtual event, in lieu of an in-person event. Specific registration details for MFP Fellows for our new 2020 Bridging the Gap Digital Experience, from June 16–19, 2020, will be emailed to all fellows soon. If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact NBCC Foundation staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The health and safety of our Symposium attendees, volunteers, presenters, speakers, exhibitors, and staff remain our highest priority.
In light of global health concerns because of COVID-19, we will deliver our annual Bridging the Gap Symposium: Eliminating Mental Health Disparities as a virtual event, in lieu of an in-person event. Refunds will be issued to all current registrants, and registration details for our new 2020 Bridging the Gap Digital Experience, from June 16–19, 2020, will be released soon to our community of counselors, counselors-in-training, and all others working each day to bridge the gap in mental health services for the underserved and never-served around the world in this new virtual format.
We look forward to bringing you together so we can continue Counseling Together, Apart.
Registration details coming soon.
We recognize that a lot of plans for live continuing education opportunities have been changed or canceled. If you are looking for quality online continuing education opportunities, search our Approved Continuing Education Provider directory
We have also developed a list of telehealth learning opportunities offered by our Approved Continuing Education Providers.
NBCC is concerned about the COVID-19 outbreaks and the health and welfare of continuing education providers and participants. If you have been approved to deliver a live, in-person Single Program or live, in-person Cosponsored Program, you may opt for virtual delivery without consulting NBCC. However, participants must be able to communicate and interact with the presenter during the program, consistent with NBCC Continuing Education Provider Policy Sections B.2 (a) and B.3.
If you have a Single Program or Cosponsorship application pending for a live, in-person program and you change to virtual delivery, send notification to email@example.com.
Like many businesses, we have asked our employees to work from home to ensure the safety of our team and the organizations and individuals we are here to serve. Because we cannot ensure the timeliness of the review, NBCC will not be accepting any rush applications during this time.
Additionally, other reviews such as ACEP and Cosponsorship Applications as well as ACEP Audits may also be significantly delayed.
NBCC would like to work with you as you deal with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreaks, and we sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding. If you have additional questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “COVID-19.”
Our Professional Resources Department has compiled helpful information for those of you that are working through transitioning into an online learning environment.
H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, signed into law on March 6, gives states the ability to request waivers that would allow them to use Medicare and Medicaid funds for telehealth services without the “originating site requirement.” Under normal circumstances, patients are required to have one or more face-to-face appointments at a qualifying health care site before Medicare or Medicaid will pay for telehealth services. Counselors are not covered under Medicare, but Medicaid coverage varies by state. Most states cover Medicaid services provided by counselors, but some restrict the types of providers that can furnish telehealth services. States that have waivers approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may lift some restrictions temporarily and begin covering counseling services via telehealth. Several other federal government agencies have released guidance important to behavioral health providers.
The National Association of Medicaid Directors lists contact information for each state Medicaid agency. If you are unsure of the status of Medicaid coverage for counselors providing telehealth in your state, contact your state Medicaid director’s office or email@example.com.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have issued guidance on the use of telemedicine for medication-assisted treatment. SAMHSA has also released guidance relating to the prohibitions on use and disclosure of patient identifying information under 442 CFR Part 2.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights has stated it will waive potential penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers who serve patients through everyday communications technologies during the emergency.
State governments have released varying guidelines on a number of issues related to COVID-19, including telehealth. Check your state department of health’s website for that general information. You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The state governments regulate the insurance industry via each state insurance commissioner’s office. Each state has different requirements for counselors providing telemental health services, and each commercial insurer has different reimbursement policies.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners lists contact information for every state insurance commissioner. If you are unsure of how telemental health services are regulated by the state and private insurance, contact your state insurance commissioner’s office or email@example.com.
Some commercial insurers do not currently reimburse counselors for telehealth services. However, some states have temporarily directed insurers to reimburse counselors for the telehealth services. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an emergency rule directing insurance companies to reimburse mental health counselors in the state for telehealth services for up to 120 days (via the Texas Counseling Association). NBCC is supportive of efforts to lift telemental health restrictions during this emergency.
Many commercial insurers have announced that they intend to temporarily ease restrictions and lower costs for telemental health services. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) maintains a list of insurers who have temporarily altered their policies.
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has issued a statement on the use of distance counseling. If programs are utilizing distance counseling and supervision, they need to adhere to CACREP standards and policies.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is making emergency funds available in accordance with the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act for certain entities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
State, local, or tribal governments can apply for this public assistance. Eligible nonprofit entities can then apply through state Departments of Health and Departments of Homeland Security. For these purposes, FEMA defines an eligible nonprofit as one that has an effective ruling letter from the IRS or evidence from their state government that the organization is a nonprofit. It also requires the nonprofit to be engaged in a “governmental type service,” which includes behavioral health care. If you work for a nonprofit behavioral health clinic, your site may be eligible for assistance.
The funds are intended for emergency protective measures for health care providers, including by not limited to:
Person Centered Tech is a telehealth compliance firm focused on mental health providers and an NBCC Approved Continuing Education Provider. They have compiled a directory of emergency teletherapy practice rules and board statements relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are working to keep their list updated, so be sure to check it frequently.
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