COVID-19 Updates, Alerts, and Resources

NYCPS is committed to keeping you informed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check this page for ongoing updates and developments.

January 8, 2021 COVID-19 Vaccine in NYC- Resources & Information
September 1, 2020 APA Message & COVID Guidance & Resource Documents
August 12, 2020 APA's Telehealth Advocacy During COVID-19
June 25, 2020 APA Coronavirus Information Hub
April 22, 2020 PsychSummit: COVID-19 Video Resource
April 9, 2020 APA Guidance on Deployment of Trainees during COVID-19 Crisis
March 30, 2020 APA & NABH Webinar on Wed, April 1
March 26, 2020 APA Update: Beware of COVID-19 Scams
March 25, 2020 NYS Emotional Support Hotline Now Available for New Yorkers
March 21, 2020 NYSPA Update: NYS Seeking Professional Volunteers for COVID-19 Mental Health Hotline
March 17, 2020 Updated Telehealth Restrictions (APA)
March 16, 2020 APA Updates
March 13, 2020 NYSPA Update
March 12, 2020 NYCPS Events, NYS OMH Guidance, Emergency Federal Bill
Additional Resources


January 8, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine in NYC- Information & Resources

NYC is currently in Phase 1A for vaccine distribution, which means the vaccine is being provided to: healthcare providers and staff with direct patient contact, emergency responders, staff at COVID-19 testing and vaccination locations, home health aides, and long-term care staff and residents, among others, including psychiatrists. Learn more about who is currently eligible for vaccination or to check your own eligibility, click here

Steps to Get the Vaccine for NYC Psychiatrists

1. Make an appointment. For psychiatrists in private practice or those not affiliated with a hospital network or urgent care center, you must schedule an appointment with one of the distribution sites to get the vaccine. Click here for locations.

2. Complete the NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Form. Click here complete the form or click here to download a pdf of instructions. NYS requires the provider administering the vaccine to check that you completed the form.

3. Gather documentation. You will need to bring proof of employment, such as an employee ID card, a letter from your employer or affiliated organization, or a recent pay stub.

For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 vaccine including locations for distribution, eligibility, and current data, please visit the NYC Department of Health's information page on the vaccine here. You can also view the NYC Vaccine Command Center to follow the phases for distribution. If you have questions, call the New York State COVID-19 hotline at 888-364-3065.


September 1, 2020

APA Message & COVID Guidance & Resource Documents
The APA has developed some key COVID-19 resources over the past several months and can be found on the APA's COVID-19 Information Hub. The documents with direct links to download the PDF can be found below. These documents will assist healthcare personnel in supporting patients and their families in responding to the unique challenges of this global event.

Global pandemics, such as COVID-19, and other disasters cause extreme disruption to the lives of patients, healthcare workers, and the general public. These events are threats to physical and mental health, economic stability, and other aspects of well-being. Various populations are disproportionately affected as a result of underlying disparities, the direct impact of the event, factors at work during recovery, as well as the intersectionality of all these variables. Caring for our patients, our families, and ourselves requires knowing what to do as well as some things to avoid doing. Brief and actionable resources that address the concerns of today as well as help us plan for emerging challenges in the weeks and months ahead can be invaluable during a crisis.

 More information including fact sheets, presentations, and other resources to assist your clinical practice can be found at the APA's COVID-19 Information Hub.


August 12, 2020

APA's Telehealth Advocacy During COVID-19
Click here to download a document about APA's Telehealth Advocacy During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.


June 25, 2020

APA Coronavirus Information Hub

The APA COVID-19 Information Hub is available as a resource and includes recently added materials such as the following:


April 22, 2020

PsychSummit: COVID-19
PsychSummit: COVID-19 includes an interview with APA President Bruce J. Schwartz, MD, on his experience on the ground in the epicenter and takeaways for psychiatrists in other states and see glimpses into the lives of NYC psychiatrists during COVID-19. PsychSummit is a partnership between the Colorado Psychiatric Society and the New York County Psychiatric Society. From the beginning, it has been a VIRTUAL INTERACTIVE conference designed to bring together psychiatrists from across the country (and beyond) to discuss some of the most pressing issues the profession faces. 



April 9, 2020

Guidance From APA on Deployment of Psychiatrists, Trainees During COVID-19 Crisis
Dr. Saul Levin, APA CEO & Medical Director has issued some guidance for APA members regarding physician redeployment during the COVID-19 crisis. Click here to read the message.


March 30, 2020

APA and NABH Webinar: How to Address COVID 19 Across Inpatient, Residential and other Non-Ambulatory Care Settings
Wednesday, April 1, 2:00-3:00 pm (EDT)
APA and the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH) will host a joint webinar discussion with experts working in inpatient, residential, and other non-ambulatory care settings about how they are assessing the current environment and developing new protocols to care for their patients during the COVID 19 crisis. Hear from experts about how to manage different types of services, key messages to give to your team leaders, unique challenges for people with SMI, how to handle group therapy, and more. Questions can also be submitted via chat during the live session. A recording will be made available after the event. Click here to register.


March 26, 2020

APA Warns Against Recent COVID-19 Scams
APA would like members to be aware of scams targeting consumers and healthcare facilities by scammers pretending to be representatives of CDC, DEA, or WHO and asking for personal information, donations, etc.

For example, it was recently brought to the attention of the Massachusetts Board of Medicine that Massachusetts licensees have been receiving scam calls from individuals posing as investigators of the Massachusetts Board of Medicine of the DEA. The caller will falsely state that their license is in jeopardy or has been suspended. They may ask for additional information including NPI, DEA registration number, financial information, and may claim the call is being recorded on a secure line. Please note that the scam calls may show up as the Board of Medicine’s main number. Physicians from other states received similar scam calls from individuals purporting to be FBI and DEA. Please see link to DEA webpage which includes information on reporting the online threat: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/pressreleases/extortion_scam.htm

Additionally, the FTC has provided some tips to avoid coronavirus scams including recorded scam calls on “fake tests for medicare recipients” and “free test kit scam.” Please take a moment to review this information at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing

A link to this information, along with other resources for psychiatrists, families, and health care and community leaders, can be found on the APA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Hub: www.psychiatry.org/coronavirus.


March 25, 2020

New York State Emotional Support Hotline is Currently Active
New Yorkers who may be experiencing anxiety or other strong emotional reactions around the COVID-19 crisis, can call the New York State Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to speak to someone, get tips on coping skills, and/or for additional resources or referrals. 


March 21, 2020

Update from NYSPA: NYS Governor Seeking Volunteers for COVID-19 Mental Health Hotline
Governor Cuomo announced the creation of a state-wide hotline to provide free mental health services to individuals at home who may be experiencing stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 crisis. He has called upon mental health professionals to volunteer to create a reserve of mental health professionals to provide telephone and/or telehealth counseling for individuals in need. NYSPA has contacted the Governor’s office and advised them it will be sending a communication to its members to encourage participation in this important initiative on behalf of New Yorkers in need. 

To volunteer, professionals are asked to complete a survey by clicking here: https://apps.health.ny.gov/pubpal/builder/survey/retired-health-professional. Although the online form refers to medical treatment of individuals with Coronavirus, the Governor indicated in his press conference that they are also seeking counseling services for individuals who may be experiencing anxiety and fear. Please note: Members should indicate on the form that they are available for telephone and telehealth counseling services, not face-to-face services. For more information about how to get involved, visit the NYS DOH website here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-help


March 17, 2020

APA has provided information on restrictions related to telehealth. Please click here to view the update.


March 16, 2020

American Psychiatric Association Updates
APA announced it will not hold its 2020 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, however, there are plans to support the learning needs of psychiatrists through online education. For more information on this announcement, please click here.

Due to COVID-19 preparedness measures evolving daily, as of Monday, March 16th, APA Administration will be teleworking. Please note that staff will continue to work remotely and maintain access to email and online databases with office phones forwarding calls directly to staff.

The following COVID-19 updates have recently been communicated by APA:
   - COVID-19 and Telepsychiatry: What you Need to Know (3/13/20)
   - COVID-19 Mental Health Impacts: Resources for Psychiatrists (3/12/20)
   - A Message from the APA on COVID-19 (3/3/20)


March 13, 2020

New York State Psychiatric Association Update
President Trump declared a national emergency and confirmed that Health and Human Services Secretary Azar has been granted the authority to waive existing laws to enable the provision of telemedicine services across the country. We await additional information from CMS, particularly regarding the lifting of current Medicare restrictions on the provision of telemedicine in a patient’s private home.

In addition, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.1 declaring a State disaster emergency and relaxing state requirements for the provision of telemedicine, as follows:
Section 2999-cc of the Public Health Law and any regulatory provisions promulgated thereunder by the Department of Health, the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, to the extent necessary to allow additional telehealth provider categories and modalities, to permit other types of practitioners to deliver services within their scopes of practice and to authorize the use of certain technologies for the delivery of health care services to established patients, pursuant to such limitations as the commissioners of such agencies may determine appropriate;

New York State will also be liberalizing rules and requirements for the provision of telemedicine services to Medicaid beneficiaries. Further guidance is expected shortly.

At this time, with respect to commercial insurance carrier and private pay treatment, there is no restriction on the provision of telemedicine in private homes. As many members are aware, several years ago, New York State enacted legislation requiring health insurers to provide coverage and reimbursement for services provided via telemedicine where the service is otherwise covered under a health insurance policy.

Please keep in mind that telemedicine services must be provided using HIPAA-compliant software that provides two-way, real-time interactive communication. Approved telemedicine services are considered face-to-face and may be billed using the same CPT codes customarily used for in-person psychiatric services. We have been advised that private practitioners (not those working in Article 28 or Article 31 settings) should indicate the provision of services via telemedicine by using place of service code 02.

NYSPA will provide additional updates as more information is made available.


March 12, 2020

New York County Psychiatric Society Events & Meetings
In order to ensure the health and safety of our members and due to current restrictions regarding COVID-19, NYCPS will be postponing all in-person events until further notice. At this time, we have every intention of rescheduling all events once restrictions have been lifted and it has been deemed safe to do so. We will make every effort to keep you informed of new developments as they arise, and will let you know once we have rescheduled dates.

New York State Office of Mental Health Guidance 
All updates and guidance documents from OMH are listed on their website here: https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/guidance/

Emergency Federal Bill
In addition, Congress has passed an $8 billion emergency funding package to address the spread of COVID-19. Among other provisions, the bill allows for the secretary of Health and Human Services to temporarily lift restrictions on Medicare access to telehealth services, such as live videoconference consultations with doctors, which will potentially allow patients with mental health and substance use disorders who may be worried about contracting the virus to continue to receive treatment during this public health emergency. To read the APA's press release regarding the bill, click here.


Additional Resources

New York City
New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH) has provided a 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for Providers page here. For more information about COVID-19, including common symptoms and an up-to-date case count in NYC, please visit their Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page here.

New York State
Visit the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) website here for updates from the State.
The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has provided guidance documents and information here

Federal
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing updates on COVID-19 on their website here, including information for healthcare providers.
Click here to visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website on COVID-19, which provides highlights from CDC and ongoing updates.

Click here for the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) Diversion Control Division to keep up to date on alerts and scams.

Other Helpful Resources
You can find important risk management tips regarding telepsychiatry by clicking here to download a booklet provided by NYCPS Platinum Partner, PRMS.


Please email us at [email protected] with any questions or concerns. Thank you and please stay safe!