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Student loan borrowers adversely affected by the coronavirus, or COVID-19, can officially get some relief on their debt if they request it, according to new details announced on Friday by the Education Department (ED).
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos directed all federal student loan servicers to grant “administrative forbearance” to any borrower with federal loans for at least two months, if they request one. Forbearance will be in effect for “at least 60 days” starting March 13. Documentation is not required.
“This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest,” the department stated.
Furthermore, according to the department, all borrowers who have federal student loans will see their interest rates automatically drop to 0% “for a period of at least 60 days.”
We have tried to provide you appropriate links to the original documents and information. We can not redefine or interpret the language. If you need that, I suggest contacting your attorney. The Governor's orders were written in plain language to eliminate confusion. I recommend that you not attempt to read into it something it does not specifically say. I recommend that you not try to redefine the specific language to fit your needs. Please take the information at face value.
We are continuing to advocate for counselors about current rules and laws that need variances because of the current pandemic.
Can counselors provide telehealth? Yes, they always could. More details are listed below.
What electronic devices can be used for telehealth? Section 1. “Telehealth Services” shall be defined to include the
provision of health care, psychiatry, mental health treatment, substance
use disorder treatment, and related services to a patient, regardless
of their location, through electronic or telephonic methods, such as
telephone (landline or cellular), video technology commonly available on
smart phones and other devices such as FaceTime, Facebook Messenger
video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype, and videoconferencing, as
well as any method within the meaning of “telehealth services” under
Section 356z.22 of the Illinois Insurance Code, 215 ILCS 5. “Health
insurance coverage” and “health insurance issuer” shall have the
meanings given in Section 5 of the Illinois Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act, 215 ILCS 97.
What technology can not be used? Section 9. A covered health care provider and/or covered entity subject to the requirements of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act, 740 ILCS 110, that uses audio or video communication technology to provide Telehealth Services to mental health and developmental disability patients may use any non-public facing remote communication product in accordance with Section 1 of this Executive Order for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation. This exercise of discretion applies to Telehealth Service providers or covered entities for any reason, regardless of whether the Telehealth Service concerns the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions related to COVID-19. Providers and covered entities should, to the extent feasible, notify patients that third-party applications potentially introduce privacy risks. Providers should enable all available encryption and privacy modes when using such applications. Facebook Live, Twitch, TikTok, and similar video communication applications which are public facing should not be used in the provision of telehealth by covered health care providers or covered entities.
What if the insured says I have to use a specific software/platform? Email and explain to them the Governor orders. Ask for a supervisor.
What if my client is in the Federal BCBS, CABCBS, BCBSAZ, etc? Many states have enacted similar waivers. Check with that government or provider.
Governor Pritzker has requested expanding system and providers, see link.
Are ALL Insurance providers covered under the Governor telehealth plan? Section 2. Beginning March 19, 2020 and continuing for the duration of
the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, in order to protect the
public’s health, to permit expedited treatment of health conditions
during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to mitigate its impact upon the
residents of the State of Illinois, all health insurance issuers
regulated by the Department of Insurance are hereby required to cover
the costs of all Telehealth Services rendered by in-network providers to
deliver any clinically appropriate, medically necessary covered
services and treatments to insureds, enrollees, and members under each
policy, contract, or certificate of health insurance coverage. Issuers
may establish reasonable requirements and parameters for Telehealth
Services, including with respect to documentation and recordkeeping, to
the extent consistent with this Executive Order or any company bulletin
subsequently issued by the Department of Insurance under this Executive
Order. An issuer’s requirements and parameters may not be more
restrictive or less favorable toward providers, insureds, enrollees, or
members than those contained in the emergency rulemaking undertaken by
the Department of Healthcare and Family Services at 89 Ill. Adm. Code
140.403(e). Issuers shall notify providers of any instructions necessary
to facilitate billing for Telehealth Services.
What about clinical face to face hours that are required under the LCPC licensure process? Does teletherapy count as face to face? No waivers on this topic have been issued by IDFPR. We have requested waivers.
What about LCPC applicant requirement for in person 1 hour weekly supervision?
Record keeping, releases, consent to treatment and other forms.
Section 8. Beginning March 19, 2020 and continuing for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, the following statutory limitations pursuant to Section 5 of Illinois’ Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act, 740 ILCS 110/5, are suspended for the provision of Telehealth Services to mental health and developmental disability patients in Illinois:
The disclosure prohibitions as to records and communications pursuant to 740 ILCS 110/5(a).
The written consent provisions pursuant to 740 ILCS 110/5(b).
Will their be support for counselors in providing telehealth services? Training? Counselors can use their telephone to provide services. No special training or software is required.
Is special training required to provide telehealth? No special training is required by law.
Did IDFPR issue a waiver to the in person CEs rules? Not for counselors because the counselor license is not due for renewal for 12 months.
What if the provider or client tests positive for COVID-19? ACA Code of Ethics. B.2.c.Contagious, Life-Threatening DiseasesWhen clients disclose that they have adisease commonly known to be bothcommunicable and life threatening,counselors may be justified in disclosing information to identifiable thirdparties, if the parties are known to beat serious and foreseeable risk of contracting the disease. Prior to making adisclosure, counselors assess the intentof clients to inform the third partiesabout their disease or to engage inany behaviors that may be harmful toan identifiable third party. Counselorsadhere to relevant state laws concerning disclosure about disease status.
Counselor- Notify clients, self isolate, seek medical help.
What about those not licensed? Clinically supervised? Students? Governor order Section 5. Telehealth Services subject to this Executive Order’s
coverage requirements may be provided by any in-network physicians,
physician assistants, optometrists, advanced practice registered nurses,
clinical psychologists, prescribing psychologists, dentists,
occupational therapists, pharmacists, physical therapists, clinical
social workers, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, hearing
instrument dispensers, other mental health providers, and other
substance use disorder treatment providers, as long as they are
licensed, registered, certified, or authorized to practice in the State
of Illinois, regardless of whether or not the in-network provider was
originally established prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in any designated
telehealth network for the policy, contract, or certificate of health
insurance coverage. Existing insurance law requirements regarding
coverage of treatments based on licensure apply, such as the coverage
requirements for treatment of autism spectrum disorders contained in
Section 356z.14 of the Illinois Insurance Code, 215 ILCS 5.
Another opportunity to assist concerns blood donations. As blood drives have been cancelled, the state and the nation have faced a critical shortage of blood donations. Visitwww.redcross.orgto find out where and how you can help.
More information about volunteer opportunities is availablehere.
of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During
the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency
During the COVID-19 national emergency, which also constitutes a
nationwide public health emergency, covered health care providers
subject to the HIPAA Rules may seek to communicate with patients, and
provide telehealth services, through remote communications
technologies. Some of these technologies, and the manner in which they
are used by HIPAA covered health care providers, may not fully comply
with the requirements of the HIPAA Rules.
OCR will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose
penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the
HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the
good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide
public health emergency. This notification is effective immediately.
What about Co-pays? What is cost-sharing? Section 4. Health insurance issuers shall not impose any cost-sharing (copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance) for Telehealth Services provided by in-network providers. However, in accordance with the standards and definitions in 26 U.S.C. 223, if an enrollee in a “high-deductible health plan” has not met the applicable deductible under the terms of their coverage, the requirements of this Section do not require an issuer to pay for a charge for Telehealth Services unless the associated health care service for that particular charge is deemed “preventive care” by the United States Treasury. The federal Internal Revenue Service recently has recognized that services for testing, treatment, and any potential vaccination for COVID-19 fall within the scope of “preventive care.”
We have received the question on co-pays in multiple formats. Health insurance issuers shall not impose any cost-sharing (copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance) for Telehealth Services provided by in-network providers.
How do I know if they are a high deductible? Ask the insurance provider.
How do I know if they have met the high deductible? Ask the insurance provider.
Do I not collect a deductible? See above.
Under the Stay in Place Order can I and/or my client leave home for providing/receiving mental health treatment? Yes.
Healthcare and Public Health Operations. For
purposes of this Executive Order, individuals may leave their residence
to work for or obtain services through Healthcare and Public Health
Healthcare and Public Health Operations includes, but is
not limited to: hospitals; clinics; dental offices; pharmacies; public
health entities, including those that compile, model, analyze and
communicate public health information; pharmaceutical, pharmacy, medical
device and equipment, and biotechnology companies (including
operations, research and development, manufacture, and supply chain);
organizations collecting blood, platelets, plasma, and other necessary
materials; licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and licensed cannabis
cultivation centers; reproductive health care providers; eye care
centers, including those that sell glasses and contact lenses; home
healthcare services providers; mental health and substance use
providers; other healthcare facilities and suppliers and providers of
any related and/or ancillary healthcare services; and entities that
transport and dispose of medical materials and remains. Specifically
included in Healthcare and Public Health Operations are manufacturers,
technicians, logistics, and warehouse operators and distributors of
medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical gases,
pharmaceuticals, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials,
laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization
supplies, and tissue and paper towel products. Healthcare and Public Health Operations also includes veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.
Healthcare and Public Health Operations shall be construed
broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of healthcare, broadly
defined. Healthcare and Public Health Operations does not include
fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors,
and similar facilities.
Human Services Operations. For purposes of this
Executive Order, individuals may leave their residence to work for or
obtain services at any Human Services Operations, including any provider
funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois
Department of Children and Family Services, or Medicaid that is
providing services to the public and including state-operated,
institutional, or community-based settings providing human services to
the public. Human Services Operations includes, but is not limited
to: long-term care facilities; all entities licensed pursuant to the
Child Care Act, 225 ILCS 10, except for day care centers, day care
homes, group day care homes, and day care centers licensed as specified
in Section 12(s) of this Executive Order; residential settings and
shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental
disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders,
and/or mental illness; transitional facilities; home-based settings to
provide services to individuals with physical, intellectual, and/or
developmental disabilities, seniors, adults, and children; field offices
that provide and help to determine eligibility for basic needs
including food, cash assistance, medical coverage, child care,
vocational services, rehabilitation services; developmental centers;
adoption agencies; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social
services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged
individuals, individuals with physical, intellectual, and/or
developmental disabilities, or otherwise needy individuals. Human Services Operations shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of human services, broadly defined.
What if the provider is out-of-network? Governor order Section 6. This Executive Order does not apply to “excepted benefits” as
defined by 45 C.F.R. 146.145(b) and 45 C.F.R. 148.220, but does apply
to limited scope dental benefits, limited scope vision benefits,
long-term care benefits, coverage only for accidents, or coverage only
for specified disease or illness. This Executive Order applies to
short-term, limited-duration health insurance coverage, fully insured
student health insurance coverage, and fully insured association health
plans except with respect to excepted benefits as provided above. Any
policy, contract, or certificate of health insurance coverage that does
not distinguish between in-network and out-of-network providers shall be
subject to this Executive Order as though all providers were
Who is immune from Civil Liability?
Section 1. For purposes of this Executive Order, the following terms are defined as set forth below:
"Health Care Facilities” means:
Facilities licensed, certified, or approved by any State agency and covered by the following: 77 Ill. Admin. Section 1130.215(a)-(f); University of Illinois Hospital Act, 110 ILCS 330; Alternative Health Care Delivery Act, 210 ILCS 3/35(2)-(4); Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act, 210 ILCS 50; or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Act, 20 ILCS 2805;
State-operated Developmental Centers certified by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and licensed State-operated Mental Health Centers created pursuant to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Administrative Act, 20 ILCS 1705/4;
Licensed community-integrated living arrangements as defined by the Community-Integrated Living Arrangements Licensing and Certification Act, 210 ILCS 135/2;
Licensed Community Mental Health Centers as defined in the Community Services Act, 405 ILCS 30;
Federally qualified health centers under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1396d(l)(2)(B); and
Any government-operated site providing health care services established for the purpose of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Health Care Professional” means all licensed or certified health care or emergency medical services workers who (i) are providing health care services at a Health Care Facility in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and are authorized to do so; or (ii) are working under the direction of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) or DPH in response to the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations.
Section 4. Pursuant to Sections 15 and 21(b)-(c) of the IEMA Act, 20 ILCS 3305/15 and 21(b)-(c), I direct that during the pendency of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations, Health Care Professionals, as defined in Section 1 of this Executive Order, shall be immune from civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been caused by any act or omission by the Health Care Professional, which injury or death occurred at a time when a Health Care Professional was engaged in the course of rendering assistance to the State by providing health care services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, unless it is established that such injury or death was caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct of such Health Care Professional, if 20 ILCS 3305/15 is applicable, or by willful misconduct, if 20 ILCS 3305/21 is applicable.
(225 ILCS 150/10) Sec. 10. Practice authority. A health care professional treating a patient located in this State through telehealth must be licensed or authorized to practice in Illinois.
(Source: P.A. 100-317, eff. 1-1-18.)