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Public Health Emergency

The public health emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 is ending on May 11, 2023. There are several important things to remember as we near the end of the PHE.

Audio Only/Telephone Flexibilities Will End for Most Behavioral Health Services

With the exception of services allowed as audio only/telephone before the PHE (e.g., case management), services will no longer be allowed to be delivered as audio only/telephone like they have been during the PHE.

The exception to this is individual therapy, which will continue to be compensable as audio only/telephone permanently after the PHE ends. Please note the following:

*Beginning May 12, 2023 you must use a distinct modifier to bill audio only services. Please visit this website for a list of telephonic/audio only codes and required modifiers.

*Audio only methods should only be utilized as a last resort when in-person or telehealth/video options are not feasible.

Telehealth/Video Flexibilities Will Continue for Behavioral Health Services

Unlike audio only/telephone flexibilities, telehealth/video will continue to be allowed for outpatient behavioral health services permanently, including those newly authorized during the PHE (e.g., group therapy, group rehabilitation). For a complete list of telehealth codes, please visit this website.

Flexibilities Regarding HIPAA-Compliant Platforms Will End

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) allowed more flexibility regarding the telehealth platforms that could be used to deliver services during the PHE. Beginning May 12, 2023 you will need to be in compliance with the pre-PHE requirements regarding the use of secure platforms. For more information, access the CMS Telehealth Toolkit.

Update: Health care providers will have 90 days to comply with HIPAA telehealth rules after the COVID Public Health Emergency ends at midnight on May 11. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it will continue to exercise its enforcement discretion – and not impose penalties – on covered providers for noncompliance during the 90-day transition period, which will expire on August 9, 2023.

Continuous SoonerCare Enrollment Will End on May 1

Beginning May 1, 2023 individuals enrolled in SoonerCare who no longer qualify will be unenrolled from coverage. OHCA will strategically complete this process over several months, with certain groups unenrolled before others. Individuals currently engaged in a treatment episode (e.g., residential SUD treatment) will be allowed to complete their episode before being unenrolled.

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