FNHA Health Benefits – Notice for Mental Health Providers Regarding COVID-19

Press Release

Mar 19, 2020

The World Health Organization recently declared COVID-19 a Pandemic and the Province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency. FNHA Health Benefits is requiring that providers suspend all travel into communities to avoid the potential spread of COVID-19 to our clients in remote and isolated communities. FNHA will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updated communications once travel into communities is once again permitted. Additionally, all non-urgent, in-person mental health appointments should be cancelled indefinitely. This includes appointments under the MW&C, IRS, and MMIWG programs. Providers can begin or continue to provide counselling services via telehealth and telephone.

Telehealth and Telephone Services
Telehealth includes counselling services delivered over the phone or videoconferencing. Text and email communications are not considered telehealth and are not billable services.

Before delivering services via telehealth or telephone, providers must:

• ensure that they have the ability to effectively provide services via telehealth or telephone;

• use professional judgement to determine if telehealth or telephone is therapeutically appropriate for the client;

• ask the client if they are open to receive counselling via telehealth or telephone;
• follow the telehealth standards set by their professional body; and

• document the appointment.

Invoicing Telehealth and Telephone Appointments

Mental health providers must document the telehealth and telephone appointment in a call log or calendar, confirming that the session occurred, its duration, and the client’s name.

Providers should indicate the client’s location (city or community) and the provider’s location (city) in the invoice field where the client would normally sign for an in-person session.

It is also recommended that providers contact their clients with regards to any scheduled appointments to determine if clients would prefer to cancel their appointments or to continue using telehealth options.
Please contact Health Benefits Provider Relations at [email protected] or 1-855-550-5454 if you have any questions.


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