Monday, November 16, 2020

Provider 101: How to Become a CalVCB Authorized Provider

The California Victim Compensation Board assists victims with certain crime-related expenses, including hospitalization, surgery, ambulance transportation, prescriptions, dental x-rays, repair or replacement of broken or damaged teeth and dentures, mental health treatment, funeral or burial expenses, crime scene clean-up and more.

If you are a service provider looking to partner with CalVCB, there are a few things you need to know depending on the type of service you offer. First, all service providers must be authorized before CalVCB can pay a bill. Crime scene clean-up providers must also register with the California Department of Public Health as a trauma-scene waste management practitioner.

Next, you will need to:

  • Submit a copy of your practicing license
  • Submit a W9 you have signed or dated within the last 30 days; billing name and address (must match the name and address listed in box 33 of the CMS 1500 form)
  • Email completed documents to info@victims.ca.gov.

Once CalVCB has the necessary documents, we will add you to the system, and you will receive an email containing your CalVCB Provider ID number and start date.

Providers can opt to manually submit bills or create an account at CalVCB Online to submit them electronically. However, you will first need your CalVCB Provider ID, CalVCB Provider start date, federal tax ID and email address to create an account.

The online portal allows providers to view application and bill status, upload bills and documents, update contact information, upload W-9 and license documentation, access copies of 1099s and set up accounts for your administrative staff.

CalVCB also requires you to complete certain forms to submit bills.

Medical bills must be submitted on a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 1500 or 1450 form and must contain:

  • Patient name and address
  • Date(s) of service
  • Type(s) of service(s) provided (ICD-10 and CPT codes)
  • Billed amount
  • Provider license number, federal tax identification number (FEIN or SSN), business address, telephone number, signature or signature stamp, and billing date

Mental health providers must submit treatment bills on CMS 1500 or 1450 forms.

  • Providers may be required to submit specified mental health documentation before payment. Depending on the length of the treatment, required documents may include a Treatment Plan (TP), an Additional Treatment Plan (ATP), or session notes.
  • Providers are required to complete a Treatment Plan (TP) before the client's 4th session.
  • If a therapist believes the claimant needs additional treatment beyond the initial session limits, file an Additional Treatment Plan (ATP) to request treatment beyond the session limitations of 15, 30, or 40.
  • CalVCB allows up to five telehealth sessions per application. Once a patient reaches the five sessions, the treating mental health provider must request additional telehealth sessions by submitting a Telehealth Therapy Verification form.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, CalVCB has modified our process to remove all barriers for victims seeking medical and mental health telehealth services consistent with stay at home orders and based on feedback we received from providers. CalVCB will now allow all medical and mental health telehealth sessions billed while stay at home orders remain in effect.

  • During this time, Mental Health providers will not be required to submit the Telehealth Therapy Verification form and a Treatment Plan (TP). However, when billing mental health telehealth sessions, please note the following:
  • Reimbursement for telehealth is limited to only the cost of therapy
  • Telehealth sessions do count against the claimant's session limit
  • On the CMS 1500 billing form, indicate "GT" for Audio and Video Telecommunications as the technology used to facilitate the telehealth session in box 24 D "Modifier.
  • Use the following CPT Codes for mental health telehealth sessions:
    • 98968:  Telehealth, non-psychiatrist
    • 99443:  Telehealth, psychiatrist

At any time, Medical and Mental Health providers can also enroll in a CalVCB eLearning course to better understand the process.

Dental providers do not need to use a CMS form; most submit bills on an ADA Dental Claim Form with the following information:

  • Patient name and address
  • Date(s) of service
  • Type(s) of service(s) provided (diagnosis and procedure)
  • CDT (Current Dental Terminology) code(s)
  • Tooth number (if applicable)
  • Charges for each procedure
  • Total charges
  • Provider name, license number, federal tax identification number (FEIN or SSN), business address, telephone number, signature or signature stamp, and billing date

Dentists may be able to obtain pre-authorized approval for treatment. Dentists must submit a pre-treatment estimate on an approved American Dental Association (ADA) Claim Form to the Board for review; however, the Board will only issue payment for preauthorized treatment after the dentist provides services.

To receive compensation for funeral and burial expenses, the person responsible for paying for funeral arrangements should apply for funeral and burial benefits. The Board cannot accept applications filed directly by a service provider such as a mortuary, funeral home or cemetery.

You can find information on CalVCB’s current reimbursement rates in the Providers section of the CalVCB website.

Providers may wish to contact the Victim/Witness centers in the counties surrounding their practice. Some Victim Witness Centers maintain referral lists that they give to victims.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

CalVCB Recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Abuse can come in a variety of forms –physical, financial, digital, emotional, sexual. An estimated 10 million men, women, girls and boys experience intimate partner violence a year, with approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men saying they’ve been physically abused by a partner in their lifetime. For children who witness abuse, it can have a long-lasting negative effect on them emotionally, socially and academically.


Every October, the California Victim Compensation Board joins with people and organizations nationwide to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month and acknowledge all intimate partner victims and survivors. This year, the effort to raise awareness is even greater, as it’s feared many victims are being forced to shelter-at-home with their abusers, who may use the COVID-19 pandemic as another way to control their partners.

California Governor Gavin Newsom also recognizes the impact the pandemic is having on abuse victims and published resources on the state’s COVID-19 website.

Approximately a quarter (12,547) of all applications submitted to CalVCB in Fiscal Year 2019-20 were from intimate partner violence victims and their children, who received nearly $13 million in compensation:

       Mental Health: $6,869,715.83

       Relocation: $2,742,022.00

       Income/Support Loss: $1,550,391.66

       Medical: $734,752.20

       Funeral/Burial: $356,216.33

       Dental: $297,869.11

       Residential Security: $255,113.42

       Crime Scene Clean-Up: $9,898.94

Direct and derivative victims may apply for an emergency award to avoid or mitigate a substantial hardship that is a direct result of the crime, including the inability to provide food, shelter or medical care. CalVCB regulations (§ 649.8. Emergency Awards) state victims can indicate on the application, subsequent application or a bill that they are applying for an emergency award. Upon receipt, CalVCB expedites the process for verifying the application, subsequent application or bill to determine if an emergency award is appropriate. A decision is then promptly communicated to the applicant. If approved, the amount of an emergency award is based on the applicant's immediate financial need as a direct result of the qualifying crime. In Fiscal Year 2019-20, CalVCB approved 114 domestic violence claims within 30 days of receipt, awarding those victims more than a half-million dollars.

There are several ways to apply for compensation:

       Create an application using the new CalVCB Online – a secure and private portal that can be easily accessed from a phone, tablet or computer.

       Contact a local county Victim Witness Assistance Center.

       Call the CalVCB Help Line at(800) 777-9229.

       Download an application from CalVCB's How to Apply page.

An application for CalVCB compensation should be filed within seven years of the crime, seven years after the direct victim turns 18 years of age, or seven years from when the crime could have been discovered, whichever is later.

For those experiencing abuse, or for those who suspect someone is being abused, several resources can help create a safety plan, find shelter and get help:

       National Domestic Violence Hotline: call 800-799-SAFE, or text LOVEIS to 22522 for 24/7 help in English or Spanish

       TheHotline.org

       Victims of Crime Resource Center: 800-VICTIMS

       California Partnership to End Domestic Violence: 916-444-7163 (Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm)

 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

CalVCB Help is Still Available for Route 91 Harvest Festival Survivors

 

October 1 marks the third anniversary of the deadly Route 91 Harvest Festival attack in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and wounding 411 others. The panic and chaos to escape to safety that followed this deadly shooting would injure hundreds more. Although the attack lasted for ten minutes, the trauma, grief, fear and recovery continue.

As the tragic accounts of people rushing to safety unfolded, it became apparent that many of the victims were not from Nevada. Seeing this, CalVCB’ s Mass Violence Response team immediately stepped in to aid the Nevada Victims of Crime Program. A joint application process was established within days. Final counts would later show that approximately 65 % of the more than 24,000 festival attendees were from California.

At the time of the mass shooting, the deadline to apply for compensation was three years from the date of the crime. However, as of January 1, 2020, victims of all violent crimes now have seven years from the date of the crime to file. For minors, it is seven years after the direct victim turns 18 to apply. The timeline extension now gives Route 91 Harvest Festival victims until October 1, 2024, to apply for CalVCB compensation.

In addition to compensation, CalVCB recently partnered with the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and Give an Hour to offer support services to the survivors and family members of those who died through a program called “SoCal Route 91 Heals Project.” People living in eight counties, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura, will have free access to services focusing on their long-term needs, including web-based support groups, peer support training and an online mass trauma resource library. Regardless of location, all victims are eligible for the recovery services offered.

Victims can apply and learn more about services available to them on our website.

For further assistance, call our CalVCB Customer Service team at 800-777-9229, or email info@victims.ca.gov. We also have answers to some of the basic questions we’ve received in the aftermath of the shooting on our frequently asked questions page for victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival Attack.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

 

Victims’ Services Count On the Census for Federal Funding

Every 10 years, people across the country and in California fill out the Census in order to have an accurate count of all people in the United States. This year, we have until 11:59 pm on September 30 to answer the nine questions that ultimately help determine how much funding will go to programs, including victims’ services. Everyone has the right and responsibility to participate in the Census.

In 2010, based on the response rate and estimates, the U.S. Census determined California’s population at 37,253,956. The higher the population, the more federal money gets allocated to key areas, including education, health care and public safety.

In addition, grants, including the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance Formula Grants, are distributed to states based on population. Each state gets a base amount of $500,000 from the Crime Victims Fund, and American territories get a base amount of $200,000. The remaining funds are then distributed to states based on their population in relation to other states.

Using California’s 2019 estimated population of 39.5 million people, our state received just under $196 million in VOCA funds for Fiscal Year 2019-20. Those VOCA grant funds were then distributed to counties throughout the state to “provide subgrants to local community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims. Direct assistance to crime victims includes crisis counseling, telephone and onsite information and referrals, criminal justice support and advocacy, shelter, therapy, and additional assistance. Funds may also be used to develop new programs that address emerging needs, gaps in services, and training of victim service advocates” according to the Office for Victims of Crime.

Separately, California also receives VOCA Victim Compensation Allowances. These grants provide funding to supplement state compensation programs, including CalVCB, that provide financial assistance and reimbursement to victims for crime-related out-of-pocket expenses, including medical and dental care, counseling, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages and income.

Victims can apply for compensation at online.victims.ca.gov.

In addition to the decennial Census, the Census Bureau also conducts a biannual National Crime Victimization Survey to collect data measuring the crime numbers and types of crime involving those ages 12 and older. The information from this survey includes information about victims and crimes, including crime in schools, the cost of crimes, law enforcement response and any trends in violent crimes.

According to Census records, 10 years ago in the 2010 Census, our state’s response rate was 73 percent, compared to the national average of 74 percent. A decade before, in the 2000 Census, 76 percent of Californians responded compared to the national average of 72 percent. Our state faces an added challenge in that 25 of our 58 counties are considered hard-to-reach due to a number of factors, including highly mobile people, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, low-income people and more.

The Census counts everyone living in the United States, regardless of background or immigration status. The Census will not include a question about citizenship status. By law, all your answers are kept safe and confidential. The Census Bureau cannot share the information you provide with your landlord; therefore, it is important to count everyone who is living in your house, even if they are not family or are not listed on your lease or rental agreement. The Census lists specifics about how families should report college students and members of the military.

All Californians can now complete the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail. It is available online and on the phone in 13 languages. Video and printed guides are available in 59 non-English languages.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

CalVCB May Provide Compensation for Victims Forced to Stay at Home With Their Abusers

COVID-19 forced all Californians to stay home to save lives. However, for intimate partner violence and child abuse victims, staying at home often means staying with their abusers 24/7, with little or no access to family, friends, co-workers, teachers or others who can offer support and assistance.

The California Victim Compensation Board can provide compensation for intimate partner and child abuse survivors when a crime or threat of injury has occurred. This includes medical and mental health treatment, dental, home security, income loss and more. CalVCB may also reimburse a claimant up to $2,000 per household for expenses incurred in relocating. An applicant may request an emergency award for reimbursement of any eligible expense if the Board determines that such an award is necessary.

We also work directly with 59 Victim Witness Assistance Centers — one in each county and one more in the City of Los Angeles —to assist victims with completing and submitting an application and navigating the criminal justice system. CalVCB also provides grants to 15 Trauma Recovery Centers that provide mental health and case management services to victims of crime, their families and loved ones.

In April of 2019, CalVCB launched an online portal, allowing victims to apply for compensation digitally. The application site features a Quick Escape button, so applicants can quickly exit if needed. Since the state’s shelter in place order began in March, nearly half of all applications have been submitted through CalVCB Online. However, we have seen a drop in the number of intimate partner and child abuse claimants applying for compensation. In Fiscal Year 2018-19, CalVCB received nearly 10,000 child abuse applications and more than 12,000 domestic violence applications. In April of 2019, nearly 900 child abuse compensation applications were submitted – that number dropped to just under 500 applications in April of 2020. For domestic violence compensation applications, more than 1,200 applications were filed with CalVCB in April of 2019, compared to slightly more than 800 in April of 2020. That downward trend continued in May, June and July.

A 2015 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found about one in four women and one in seven men experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. That same survey found about 33% of California women—about 4.5 million—have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.

Additional help and resources can be found on California’s COVID-19 website and the Department of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch for those experiencing, or suspect, abuse.

 


Monday, July 13, 2020


How CalVCB Helps Human Trafficking Survivors
Human trafficking is a $150 billion-a-year industry, but the women and men, boys and girls, trafficked for both sex and labor never see that money. When they finally manage to break free, many do not have access to funds for housing, a car, food or other essentials and can end up back with their trafficker.

In California, that's no longer the case. Survivors can now apply for up to $20,000 in income loss from the California Victim Compensation Board. The law bases the compensation on minimum wage at the time the crime occurred and caps it at $10,000 a year for up to two years. Victims must apply within seven years of the date of the crime. Minors may apply up until their 28th birthday, but CalVCB will not release the income loss funds until that minor victim turns 18.

Assembly Members Christy Smith and Lorena Gonzalez authored Assembly Bill 629, which passed the Legislature with unanimous bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. The bill closes a loophole and allows CalVCB to rely on evidence other than official employment documentation when considering and approving income loss applications for human trafficking victims.

For years, crime victims have qualified for income loss compensation through CalVCB; however, applicants need to submit formal documentation, such as a W-2 form, to prove their income. For the thousands of human trafficking victims statewide, this regulation made it impossible for them to qualify. 

That all changed on January 1, 2020, when AB 629 went into effect. Under regulations adopted by CalVCB in May, six weeks before the July 1, 2020, deadline, human trafficking victims will still need to provide CalVCB with evidence of a crime, including, but not limited to, a statement under penalty of perjury from the applicant, a caseworker, a licensed attorney or a witness, or a law enforcement report. The law applies to California residents, and those brought from other countries and trafficked in our state.

Since the beginning of the year, CalVCB has approved five human trafficking income loss applications and compensated those survivors more than $70,000.

Applicants may also qualify for medical, dental and mental health treatment, home security and relocation compensation.

Victims, advocates, representatives and attorneys can apply for compensation in several ways:

Monday, June 22, 2020

Customer Service Increases Productivity While Working From Home



“Hello, thank you for calling the California Victim Compensation Board. How may I help you?”

Thousands of victims, victim advocates and providers hear those words every month when they call Customer Service and that didn’t change during California’s Stay-at-Home order. In fact, CalVCB’s dedicated staff exceeded expectations since transitioning to telework in mid-March.

“Recognizing the important role we play within the Board, we take pride in delivering information to our victims in a compassionate manner and expeditiously resolving issues,” said Tisha Heard, the Customer Service Section manager.

Her team is made up of 12 dedicated, knowledgeable, empathetic and trauma-informed individuals, and serves as the primary point of contact for those in need. They handled more than 10,400 calls in May from applicants looking for answers about their applications and compensation. 

The transition to telework didn’t come without challenges but Heard said they quickly overcame the obstacles and found solutions. Since transitioning to telework, they’ve increased productivity and people calling into CalVCB have experienced decreased wait times, a trend Heard is confident will continue in the coming months

Despite the challenges of the job, CalVCB’s Customer Service Section regularly recognizes the accomplishments made by individual team members and takes pride in knowing they’re able to help victims.

“My team and I get the opportunity to offer emotional support and program assistance to victims of crime and their families throughout the State,” said Heard. “It is truly gratifying knowing that you’ve helped someone begin the healing process as they try to get back to ‘normal.’ Despite the stress and challenges that come along with my job, I wouldn’t trade places with anyone. I love my job. In my next life, I see myself continuing this type of work. It’s in my DNA.”

Some of those applicants Heard and her team help are victims of older and dependent adult abuse, which CalVCB observes and raises awareness of in June. From July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019, CalVCB approved nearly 220 compensation applications from both direct and derivative victims. Applicants received more than $200,000 in compensation, with the majority covering medical ($88,904), dental ($32,031) and funeral/burial ($29,921) expenses. Compensation is also available for mental health treatment, income loss, relocation and residential security. Older Californians who have suffered abuse may apply for compensation at victims.ca.gov.