Supporting behavioral health providers in public health emergencies
Support for behavioral health care providers is crucial, especially considering the significant stress and burnout they have experienced prior to and during the pandemic. To understand how to better support behavioral health care providers during public health emergencies, this study explores three topics.
- Interventions addressing organizational factors, such as reducing workload and increasing job resources
- Interventions addressing individual factors, such as improving resilience and coping
Providers and patients report that the transition to telehealth has been largely positive. Both populations reported that telehealth has offered more flexibility. But providers expressed concern that virtual care delivery was not as effective as in-person care and that some therapies, services, and client populations may not be well suited for telehealth.
Health care providers need assistance to strengthen their capacity to deliver effective, evidence-based practices to individuals.
Federal and state regulators, as well as public and private payers, made several adjustments to accommodate emerging needs in the healthcare landscape and support behavioral health care staff. For example:
- Every state issued some type of policy change to provide coverage parity for telehealth services during the pandemic
- Health insurers began to provide payment parity for telehealth services, allowing providers to bill health insurance companies for telehealth services at the same rate they would bill for in-person services.
- Federal regulations temporarily relaxed to allow for the use of mainstream video conferencing software
But identifying new billing systems and codes can be challenging for providers. Additionally, at the time of this publication, policymakers have not expanded coverage for telehealth permanently. Therefore, behavioral health workers cannot guarantee their ability to provide care virtually.