(THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED AS CHANGES TO SERVICES OCCUR) – Last Updated 03/29/2020 – see updates in bold below)
I certainly hope this post finds you well. The news and updates surrounding the corona virus and COVID-19 seems to come and an increasing pace, especially given the access we have to TV, News Apps, and Social Media. Please see below regarding updates to sessions, and requests made of clients before coming in for scheduled sessions (if in-office).
I encourage you all to stay aware and updated, especially in this time of Social Distancing and measures being taken locally to curb the spread and #FlattentheCurve. There is a lot of hearsay and misinformation being spread and going viral (no pun intended). If you are keeping yourselves updated, please make sure to take a look at official information. Some of those official sources are linked below:
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Florida Department of Health
How Anthony Naguiat, LMHC, MCAP is addressing these concerns:
Telehealth sessions are a healthy alternative to an office visit in light of recent events and increasing concerns about COVID-19. Please factor in your understanding of your unique health needs and the needs of your loved ones when deciding whether to pursue office versus telehealth visits, such as underlying health conditions for yourself or others that may place you at higher-risk from COVID-19. Anthony has a lot of experience providing services via telehealth and can answer any questions you may have about the process.
At this time, it appears all insurance plans are moving to covering telehealth without any barriers, even if not initially a plan benefit. Please call your insurance provider and/or reach out to your clinician for any plan specific concerns. Specific plans have given guidance and lifted some restrictions temporarily so that barriers to access telehealth is not an issue. Some plans have lifted the requirement for a HIPAA-compliant telehealth system (though Anthony uses HIPAA-compliant Doxy.me already), and some are even allowing telephone calls in the absence of access telehealth/computer systems. If you have any insurance, technology, or privacy concerns related to telehealth, please reach out to Anthony.
Update 03/29/2020: **Due to updates in local guidance related to physical distancing, and the closure of more non-essential businesses, any sessions currently scheduled through at least April 18th will be moved to some form of telehealth session out of precaution for client health, as well as your clinician’s health.** Please reach out with any concerns prior to your next scheduled appointment.
Additional precautionary measures Anthony is taking for the office (when sessions resume in-office):
* After each session, your clinician is wiping hard surfaces with disinfecting wipes (including the office door handle)
* Disinfecting wipes, disinfecting spray, and hand sanitizer is available to each client to use in office
* Hallway Restrooms have disinfecting hand soap and paper towels available for use. Make sure to wash your hands prior to coming into session and follow the minimum 20-second rule using soap/water.
What Anthony is asking clients to consider before coming in for scheduled in-person sessions (when sessions resume in-office):
* If you are doing/have done any domestic or international travel—inform your clinician. Based on the safety level of your destination, you may be asked to not come to your appointments in person and transition to online sessions for two weeks.
* If anyone in your close circle of friends, family, colleagues, or neighbors have traveled domestically or internationally—inform your clinician. Based on the safety level of the destination, you may be asked to not come to your appointments in person and transition to online sessions for two weeks.
* If you do not feel well – inform your clinician. Telehealth may be most appropriate based on mutual decision making between the client and clinician.
* If anyone in your close circle of friends, family, colleagues, or neighbors have been sick, or you work in a field where you have constant contact with people that may or may not present as feeling unwell (customer service, transportation, medical field working with patients, or similar) – inform your clinician. Telehealth may be most appropriate and you may temporarily be asked not to come in for in-person sessions.
* If, at any point, there is a quarantine impacting your clinician, and/or your neighborhood, all visits will occur online. For those unwilling to meet online in these time-limited circumstances, the cancellation policy will apply.
How to manage the stress of COVID-19
* Step back from social media and news outlets (This is important. Constant checking of news and/or scrolling social media can quickly increase anxiety. Take in what you need to know, then log out or close the app, or snooze certain people/sources for a short time).
* Use the opportunity in session to speak to your clinician about the balance between productive versus unproductive worry
* Speak to your medical provider about ways to manage your personal risk
* Balance the use of hand sanitizer with the use of lotion, disinfecting wipes, and disinfecting spray to minimize pain and dryness in hands
* A really helpful infographic about the realities of coronavirus can be found here
* If the stress of managing this situation becomes very unmanageable, you’re not alone. This is a brand new way of life for almost all of us. If you are struggling with this and are having thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or other distress, you may consider the following resources:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8355)
Crisis Text Line: Text HELP to 741741
211 – Most counties have local helplines that may also include crisis hotlines. Simply dial 211 from your phone to be connected.
There is no right or wrong way to feel about COVID-19. This is a new situation for many of us today, and it is impacting lives in different and sometimes harsh ways. If you have a low level of concern, you are not under-reacting (please use good sense to follow local government recommendations for social distancing). If you are concerned and taking precautions and/or cancelling travel, you are not overreacting. If at any point between sessions you notice a level of fear or anxiety that is concerning to you or difficult to manage, please reach out via email / phone.
Be well and stay safe.
Anthony Naguiat, LMHC, MCAP