Information about Resuming In-Person Sessions & Maintaining Safety with COVID-19
Updated on 9/15/20
1. When do you anticipate opening back up for in-person sessions?
I am currently postponing returning to in-person sessions until at least January 2021. With the testing numbers in Illinois remaining high, it is not safe for us to be in a closed room talking (even with masks) for 45 mins at a time. I truly hope to be seeing you in person soon!
2. Will you still offer telehealth sessions after you resume in-person sessions?
Yes, I will continue to offer telehealth appointments for anyone who does not feel safe attending in-person appointments.
See question #7 below for information related to billing and fees.
3. How will in-person sessions be different when you do return?
There will be a new consent form to complete.
This coronavirus has created a need for additional informed consent about the risks and benefits of attending therapy in person. The document will outline much of what will be listed below, including the possible risks to each of us sharing a room and how we can minimize the risk to each other.
I will send you the consent electronically as a PDF document that you can fill out, sign, and return electronically as well.
Completion of this consent will be required before we meet. I will provide paper copies of the consent if you are not able to complete it electronically.
Time in the waiting room will be limited.
Please arrive in the waiting room no earlier than 5 minutes before your appointment. This will minimize time spent in a small space where possible aerosolized droplets might remain.
Magazines and coloring materials will be removed to minimize any contact transfer.
Hand sanitizer will be available.
Session length will be limited to 45 minutes.
This will allow me to wipe down all high contact surfaces (door knobs, waiting room chairs, side tables, tissue boxes, trash cans) before the next person arrives.
Safety protocols will be in place during each session.
I will say hello in the doorway and then wait by my desk for you to enter.
I will ensure that our seats are at least 6 feet apart.
I will require that everyone participating in the session wear a mask.
I will have masks and reusable face shields available for additional protection while we are meeting. I have purchased enough shields so that each shield will be worn no more than once per week. I will be wearing both a mask and face shield or other protective eyewear.
Gloves will not be required.
The games and fidgets in my office will still be available. I will have gloves available for each of us to wear if we play. Gloves will not be necessary for fidgets, as I will sanitize those in between each appointment.
I will not shake hands or offer any supportive pats on the back I may have typically done.
The candy dish will still be available, but you will be required to use hand sanitizer before taking any.
4. What measures will you be taking to minimize the risk of contracting COVID in your office?
In addition to the procedures described for in-person sessions above, I will be implementing the following measures:
- I will be cleaning all high contact surfaces in between each appointment. This will include door knobs, waiting room chairs, side tables, tissue boxes, trash cans, and fidgets.
Hand sanitizer in the waiting and therapy rooms of the office will have at least 60% alcohol.
I will use cleaning wipes with at least 60% alcohol or hospital grade disinfectant spray (Cavicide) when wiping down surfaces.
For small items (phone, keys, game pieces), I will also have a UV light sanitizing box in the office. I will be happy to let you use it during your appointment if you would like.
I will also have air purifiers with HEPA filters in both the waiting and therapy rooms.
5. How will confidentiality be impacted?
If you inform me that you have tested positive for COVID-19, I will be required to provide your name, contact information, and the name of my practice to the Illinois Department of Health.
I will not provide any information about why you were at my office or any other personal information.
6. Will you notify us if one of your other clients tests positive for COVID?
- If I learn that anyone who has been in my office has tested positive for COVID or has started experiencing symptoms of the virus, I will notify everyone who was in the office since that person, as well as anyone with an upcoming appointment.
I will apply this same criteria to myself, my family, and those with whom my family has regular contact.
I will also get tested myself before returning to the office to ensure that I am safe to be around and will get additionally tested if anyone with whom I have been in contact has tested positive.
I will not share any identifying information about a person who reports COVID symptoms, including the time of their appointment.
7. Will there be any change to your standard rate or to insurance reimbursement for in-person or telehealth appointments?
- BCBSIL (includes BlueChoice) has committed to reimbursing for telehealth sessions until 12/31/2020, at minimum.
Medicare has committed to reimbursing for telehealth sessions for the duration of the pandemic.
If you use an out-of-network insurance or pay out of pocket:
Fees will remain the same.
Please contact me if your fee becomes financially unsustainable for any reason, pandemic related or not.
As always, I will waive any late cancelation fees if you feel ill or you need to tend to a family member who is ill.
I will also waive cancelation fees if you are feeling well but suspect you have been, or may have been, exposed to COVID-19.
8. Where can I find more information about what to do or how to cope with COVID and the impact of the pandemic?
In developing these guidelines and practices, I consulted information from the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education, American Psychological Foundation, and more. If you have any questions about the information on which I based my decisions, please feel free to ask me! Here are a few practical resources that I hope you never have to use:
Privacy practices for COVID testing: http://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/covid-testing-privacy-disclosure
Testing sites: http://dph.illinois.gov/testing
What to do if you have been exposed: http://dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/COVID%20exposed%20_1.8_LN%20JM_LNFinal.pdf
Parenting in quarantine: https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/quarantine-parents-tips
Hope in the pandemic (by my mentor): https://www.apadivisions.org/division-32/news-events/hope-coronavirus-pandemic
Building resilience: https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience
Podcast on coronavirus anxiety: https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/coronavirus-anxiety