AAMFT News & Updates
WAMFT News & Updates
April 25, 2020
Counseling in the Time of Corona: A WAMFT Webinar - Thank you to our presenters, Dr. Zain Shamoon and Anthony Pennant, LMFT, along with all of those who participated! We encourage you to watch the recording.
WAMFT is working on setting up online discussion to facilitate continued conversation from all of the great material contributed during the Q&A and small groups.
April 7, 2020, Telehealth
In the past few weeks, a multitude of information about the COVID pandemic has come to us from every angle and direction, and we recognize that it can be hard to decipher what is real and what is “fake news”.
WAMFT would like to help simplify some of the information that is directly related to our profession as MFTs. This information has been compiled and verified by our legislative committee in an effort to help streamline practices that help us do our jobs, such as billing insurance, applicable law changes, extensions to any deadlines and training to assist in technology. We hope that this list of summaries and resources can be a benefit and support to you during these challenging and unprecedented times.
WAMFT Legislative Chair
Telehealth Payment Parity
As stated in our most recent eNews, on March 19, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5385, which requires mental health providers to be paid the same rate by state and commercial insurance companies for telehealth services that historically have been paid for in person sessions. WAMFT leadership reached out to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and ensured this bill does apply to our field as MFTs.
This will allow us to continue to provide services to our communities without sacrificing the rate of reimbursement, and it will also allow us to expand our therapeutic reach into rural areas. Our ability to provide beneficial services to individuals, couples and families will support them in continuing to comply with the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.
License Renewal Extension
The Secretary of Health under the Governors Proclamation 20-32 has extended all health professional licenses with expirations between April 1 and September 30, 2020. Please see the information listed in the link below:
Research on Telehealth
With the recent developments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, telebehavioral Health is no longer a specialty but the main method in the delivery of services to our clients. Although many of us are just getting up to speed in this modality, did you know that there is already a wealth of research regarding Telehealth? Take a look at these articles that will assist in developing evidence and research informed practices and reflections in the utilization of Telebehavioral Health.
Berryhill, M. B., Culmer, N., Williams, N., Halli, A., Betancourt, A., Roberts, H., & King, M. (2019). Videoconferencing psychotherapy and depression: A systematic review. Telemedicine and eHealth, 25, 435-446.
Berryhill, M. B., Halli, A., Culmer, N., Williams, N., Betancourt, A., Roberts, H., & King, M. (2018). Videoconferencing psychological therapy and anxiety: A systematic review. Family Practice, 36, 53-63.
Farero, A. M., Springer, P., Hollist, C., & Bischoff, R. (2015). Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution: Using Technology to support couples through deployment. Contemporary Family Therapy, 37, 281-290.
Hilty, D. M., Ferrer, D. C., Parish, M. B., Johnston, B., Callahan, E. J., & Yellowlees, P. M. (2013). The effectiveness of telemental health: A 2013 review. Telemedicine Journal and E-Health, 19(6), 444–454. doi.org/10.1089/tmj.2013.0075.
King, V. L., Brooner, R. K., Peirce, J. M., Kolodner, K., & Kidorf, M. S. (2014). A randomized trial of web-based videoconferencing for substance
abuse counseling. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 46(1) 36-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2013.08.009.
Rees, C. S., & Maclaine, E. (2015). A systematic review of videoconference-delivered psychological treatment for anxiety disorders. Australian Psychologist, 50(4), 259-264. doi:10.1111/ap.12122
Simpson, S. G., & Reid, C. L. (2014). Therapeutic alliance in videoconferencing psychotherapy: A review. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 22(6), 280-299. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12149
Spence, S. H., Donovan, C. L., March, S., Gamble, A., Anderson, R. E., Prosser, S., et al. (2011). A randomized controlled trial of online versus clinic based CBT for adolescent anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79(5), 629-642. doi: 10.1037/a0024512
**Turvey, C. L., & Myers, K. (2013). Research in Telemental Health: Review and Synthesis. In K. Myers & C. L. Turvey (Eds.). Telemental Health: Clinical, Technical, and Administrative Foundations for Evidence-Based Practice, (pp. 397 - 419). London: Elsevier.
*The Turvey and Myers chapter will cite numerous studies on the effectiveness of teletherapy.
Telehealth Training Resources
Official Washington State COVID-19 Resource Website:
Official U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Disaster Behavioral Health Resources
Official Washington State Health Care Authority:
Telehealth Billing Guidelines/FAQ
Telehealth Guidance for Behavioral Health Providers
Regence Blue Shield of Washington https://www.regence.com/provider/library/whats-new/covid-19#temporary-updates-to-telehealth
Premera (And subsidiaries) https://www.premera.com/wa/provider/coronavirus-faq/
https://www.premera.com/wa/provider/behavioral-health/ (You must sign in through One Health Port to gain access to their Telehealth/Telemedicine Policies)
Cigna (Be sure to see that you have to add their designated Modifier and Place of Service Change)
United Behavioral Health (And subsidiaries) https://www.providerexpress.com/content/ope-provexpr/us/en/COVID-19_Provider_Updates.html
First Choice Health https://www.fchn.com/learn/coronavirus-information-updates/providers
Apple Health (Medicaid) https://www.hca.wa.gov/information-about-novel-coronavirus-covid-19