MPA is working to assure that you have the information needed as Maryland deals with COVID-19. The situation is fluid and will remain that way for a while.

Maryland Vaccine Distribution – NEW

As it’s been reported, phase 1A of the Maryland vaccine distribution plan has been updated to include “All licensed, registered and certified health care providers anywhere in the state”. Those interested in the vaccine are asked to contact their local health department (see list below). We will continue to update as we receive information. A big thanks to our members who contributed much of the information in this message.

Executive Orders in Maryland

AMENDED DIRECTIVE AND ORDER REGARDING VACCINATION MATTERS 

RECORDING OF COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

 

Update on Prince George’s County

All licensed, registered and certified health care providers:
All licensed, registered and certified healthcare providers are required to report the number of individuals that will likely receive the vaccine using the vaccination pre-registration form. When the Health Department is ready to start scheduling appointments, these healthcare providers will receive a link to schedule their appointment. The pre-registration form is available here: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/FormCenter/Health-13/Prince-Georges-County-Health-Care-Provid-157

 

Update on Anne Arundel County

Registration survey for Anne Arundel County health care providers – https://aahealth.org/covidvaccines/

 

Update on Howard County

If you are a Howard County provider, you should go to the county website at Healthcare Facilities & Providers (howardcountymd.gov)

Healthcare Facilities & Providers

 

Update on Queen Anne’s County

Providers in QA County have been able to schedule vaccination by emailing QACCOVID19.CallCenter@Maryland.gov and requesting a link to schedule. The same link may be used by other clinical staff in the same practice. The email with the link also stated “Staff will need to use the links to access a registration page to make their vaccination appointments. These clinics are for you and your staff only at this time and should not be shared with clients, family members, friends, or neighbors.”  Was also instructed “You may share these links only with your staff who work in QA county, even if they live in a surrounding county. Please make sure your staff are aware these vaccination clinics are not for friends or family, even same household members.”

 

Update on Montgomery County

Visit the Montgomery County COVID Vaccine page to sign up for notification of vaccine clinics. We’ve heard from MPA members in Montgomery County who have received their notification to schedule their vaccinations.

 

Update on Baltimore and Baltimore County

Registration link for Baltimore City health care providers

Provider registration link for Baltimore County health care providers

 

If your county isn’t mentioned above, please contact your local health department for more info on COVID vaccination

Allegany County 301-759-5000
Anne Arundel County 410-222-7256 (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sunday, closed; Email: covid19info@aacounty.org)
Baltimore City 410-396-4398
Baltimore County 410-887-3816 (Monday – Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ; Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
Calvert County 410-535-5400 ext. 334 (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Caroline County 410-479-8000
Carroll County 410-876-4848 (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Cecil County 410-996-1005 (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., after hours messages checked the following business day)
Charles County Call 301-609-6717 (Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Option to call 301-609-6777 Monday – Friday)
Dorchester County 410-228-3223 (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; call 211 after hours)
Frederick County 211 or 866-411-6803
Garrett County 301-334-7698 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, leave message after hours)
Harford County 211
Howard County 410-313-6284 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Kent County 410-778-1350 (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Montgomery County Nurse line: 240-777-1755
Prince George’s County 301-883-6627
Queen Anne’s County 443-262-9900
Somerset County 410-912-6889 (After hours, call 211)
St. Mary’s County 301-475-4330 (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Talbot County 410-819-5600
Washington County 301-790-9170 (Meritus)
Wicomico County 410-912-6889
Worcester County​ 410-632-1100 option #8 (Monday -– Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

 

Closing Your Office But Not Your Practice hosted by MPA’s Professional Practice and Educational Affairs Committee. As psychologists have made the transition to telehealth in the time of the coronavirus, and as the COVID crisis persists, some clinicians are considering giving up an office they are not using, or greatly reducing the amount of space they rent. We are offering this webinar to assist in this decision-making. Presenters will cover current issues in telehealth, ethical factors to consider in transitioning to all-telehealth, and practicalities of ending or renegotiating one’s lease. Two member psychologists will reflect on how this transition is affecting their practices.

UPDATE – This session was recorded. We’ll have the video available by the end of January 2021.

To MPA members from Paul Berman

MPA Members:
As you know, in response to the Covid-19 crisis, state and federal agencies and commercial insurance companies have expanded access to telehealth by issuing various waivers and by making other policy changes. But these changes are time-limited.
Some of these important, but temporary, changes include:
1. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) limits telehealth to/from specific “eligible facilities” (not private practice offices) and only allows patients to participate in telehealth from their home in very limited circumstances including rural areas and when the diagnosis is substance use-related. In response to Covid, CMS broadened access to telehealth so that health care practitioners can provide telehealth from their home or office to a client in their home or office.
2. Maryland Medical Assistance expanded access to telehealth by allowing clients to receive telehealth in their home, by allowing practitioners to use a wider range of video platforms including FaceTime, and by allowing practitioners to provide services via telephone if the patient could not access usual video platforms or could not use their smartphone for video sessions via FaceTime or other similar apps.
3. The Federal Government also affirmatively stated that they temporarily would not prosecute practitioners who provided telehealth services via non-HIPAA-compliant video platforms (which further expanded telehealth options).
4. Commercial insurance carries expanded access to telehealth in a variety of ways including: temporarily reimbursing for telehealth when it was not included in an insurance policies; modifying policies that previously excluded reimbursement for telehealth services by out-of-network providers; and, modifying policies which previously required the patient to access telehealth from a different provider network which may have required changing therapists to access telehealth services.
5. Some commercial carriers have waived patient co-pays to remove financial barriers to telehealth services.
However, all of these changes are temporary and time-limited.

 

Upcoming MPA Programming

MPA is working hard to get the answers to many of your most pressing questions. Below is a list of upcoming events (Continuing Education and non-CE). Mark your calendars! 

COVID-19 information for the general public

Resources for Maryland residents

 

Resources for Psychology Graduate Students

MPA webinars

As a courtesy to psychology graduate students, MPA is offering free registration for some of our lunch and learn webinars. In addition, all MPA events are available to students at a 50% discount. Please contact MPA at exec@marylandpsychology.org for details.

 

Volunteer opportunities

MPA is aware of doctoral graduate students looking for volunteer opportunities during the state of emergency. We’ve reached out to various partners and organizations. Pro Bono Counseling Project has a need for volunteers. According to Sherri Bloom, Pro Bono’s Clinical Director, the group has seen a surge of intakes and as long as both the student and supervisor register with Pro Bono, they are happy for the help. Here is the link to sign up: https://probonocounseling.org/clinicians/get-involved/

We will update this page with additional opportunities as we hear about them.

 

Resources for Maryland Psychologists

Telehealth across state lines

Maryland Medicaid

Medicare

Insurance companies

MPA Professional Practice Toolkit

MPA Resource list

MPA’s Professional Practice Committee has pulled together a list of organizations, some of which may be new to you, and identified some of the resources they provide. Let us know if there are other organizations you are familiar with that might be of help to some of our members, and we will add them to the list. There is so much information out there right now, so we hope this list is helpful to you as you manage your practices.

Includes a wealth of information on the impact of the coronavirus, including Seven Crucial Research Findings that Can Help People Deal with COVID-19.
Cites research that demonstrates that Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is as effective with telehealth as in person.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): https://www.samhsa.gov/coronavirus
Information for treatment programs and the public relevant to substance abuse.
Resources in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese for families and health care providers, e.g., supporting families of health care workers exposed to COVID-19.
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS): https://istss.org/public-resources/covid-19-resources
Includes links to a variety of organizations that provide information regarding the coronavirus pandemic. 
Includes information for mental health providers in helping patients with fears of COVID-19.
Includes material for helping children cope with stresses associated with the pandemic.
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies: http://www.abct.org/Home/
Includes a compendium of resources, such as information on conducting telehealth.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America: https://adaa.org/finding-help/coronavirus-anxiety-helpful-resources
Materials include videos for helping patients with anxiety about coronavirus.
Association for Contextual Behavioral Science: https://contextualscience.org/resources_for_therapists
Includes resources for therapists, such as a video on loss and grief during the coronavirus pandemic.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/covid-19-guide
A guide that recognizes that people with mental illness face additional challenges in dealing with COVID-19.
A chance to see how the public health community is responding to the pandemic.
Emphasizes suicide prevention during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Maryland Department of Health Behavioral Health Administration: https://bha.health.maryland.gov/Pages/bha-covid-19.aspx 
Includes lists of executive orders and memoranda from the state pertaining to providers during the COVID-19 crisis.

MPA Advocacy Efforts

MPA has been actively engaging in efforts to ensure that psychologists can provide services to those in need during this critical time. We know that there are still many questions to be answered and we’re doing our best to resolve those issues.

MPA-APA Joint Letter to the Maryland Insurance Administration

MPA Letter to Governor Hogan regarding Telehealth and COVID

MPA Letter to the Maryland Board of Examiners for Psychologists

MPA Statements

MPA Statement on Coronavirus Xenophobia and Racism

Message from MPA President Kimberly Campbell, PhD

Maryland Board of Examiners COVID-19 TEMPORARY CHANGES UPDATE

Temporary license for out of state providers

• Psychologists located outside of Maryland may apply for a Temporary Exception to Practice to treat current patients located in Maryland by completing the Temporary Exception to Practice Application on the Board’s website. The following conditions must be met:
• The psychologist must be in good standing in their licensing state and must have been licensed under requirements substantially equivalent to (or higher than) Maryland requirements;
• The psychologist can only provide services to existing patients to ensure continuity of care during the crisis;
• The psychologist must pay a $100.00 fee;
• The temporary exception will be valid for up to 30 days (an extension may be granted beyond the thirty days upon request);
• The Temporary Exception to Practice is not available to psychology associates or interns;
• Services can be provided by telepsychology, but must be in accordance with Maryland state law, any relevant Executive Orders, the Board’s regulations in COMAR 10.36.10 (to the extent they’re not inconsistent with any emergency executive orders), and federal law.”
• All applicable questions on the application must be answered. Incomplete applications will not be process

Continuing education – New!

In light of COVID-19, the Board has made the following temporary changes to the 2021 renewal process.

 

  • All CEs may be obtained through independent study, but must be offered by approved sponsors.

 

  • CE hours must be earned between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2021 (CEs must be obtained from an approved providers (COMAR 10.36.02.06).

 

  • All renewals must be completed online using the Board’s online renewal system. Payment must be made by credit card or a debit card (paper renewals or checks will only be accepted under extreme circumstances with prior Board approval). The site will open on Thursday, January 7 2021.

 

 

MPA Continuing Education

  • All MPA workshops will be virtual for the foreseeable future. While the events will be held online, live streamed events are considered in-person as they take place in real time.
  • Whenever possible all MPA virtual workshops will be recorded.
  • Looking for independent CE courses? Please see our Home Study CE library.

MPA Operations

MPA staff will remain on a telework schedule for the foreseeable future. Staff is available by email and phone (410-992-4258) during normal business hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday – Friday. You can find staff email addresses here

APA resource on protecting yourself and your practice

https://www.apaservices.org/practice/news/covid19-psychology-services-protection.pdf

Information on COVID-19 (coronavirus)

COVID-19 facts (from CDC)

COVID-19 details from the Maryland Department of Health 

Recommendations from the CDC and WHO to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If you need to cough or sneeze, please use the crook of your elbow instead of your hands.
  • If you are sick, please stay home.
  • Consider fist-bumping, air high fives or elbow tap greetings instead of handshakes and hugs

How to Cope

Fortunately, psychological research also points to ways to manage these difficult conditions. Before social distancing, quarantine or isolation orders are enacted, experts recommend planning ahead by considering how you might spend your time, who you can contact for psychosocial support and how you can address any physical or mental health needs you or your family may have.

Limit news consumption to reliable sources

It’s important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19, but too much exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. Psychologists recommend balancing time spent on news and social media with other activities unrelated to quarantine or isolation, such as reading, listening to music or learning a new language. Trusted organizations—including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the World Health Organization—are ideal sources of information on the virus.

Create and follow a daily routine

Maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine. Try to include regular daily activities, such as work, exercise or learning, even if they must be executed remotely. Integrate other healthy pastimes as needed.

Stay virtually connected with others

Your face-to-face interactions may be limited, but psychologists suggest using phone calls, text messages, video chat and social media to access social support networks. If you’re feeling sad or anxious, use these conversations as an opportunity to discuss your experience and associated emotions. Reach out to those you know who are in a similar situation. Facebook groups have already formed to facilitate communication and support among individuals asked to quarantine.

Relying on pets for emotional support is another way to stay connected. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend restricting contact with pets if you contract COVID-19 until the risks of transmission between humans and animals are better understood.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Get enough sleep, eat well and exercise in your home when you are physically capable of doing so. Try to avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with the stresses of isolation and quarantine. If needed, consider telehealth options for psychotherapy. If you already have a psychologist, contact them ahead of a potential quarantine to see if they can continue your sessions using phone-based or online delivery.

Use psychological strategies to manage stress and stay positive

Examine your worries and aim to be realistic in your assessment of the actual concern as well as your ability to cope. Try not to catastrophize; instead focus on what you can do and accept the things you can’t change. One way to do this is to keep a daily gratitude journal. You may also choose to download smartphone applications that deliver mindfulness and relaxation exercises. For example, PTSD Coach is a free application developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD and the Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology. It contains coping and resilience resources such as exercises for deep breathing, positive imagery, muscle relaxation and more.

Focusing on the altruistic reasons for social distancing, quarantine or isolation can also help mitigate psychological distress. Remember that by taking such measures, you are reducing the possibility of transmitting COVID-19 and protecting those who are most vulnerable.