The situation with Coronavirus has been rapidly evolving. At Between Us Associates, we are closely following developments and the recommendations of the CDC and other local public health authorities. Our priority has been the safety and well-being of Between Us Associates clients and our therapists, counselors and social workers. Early on, we followed guidelines and took precautions to create a clean, safe environment with increased cleaning throughout each day of common surfaces, door handles, switches, bathroom fixtures, and more, use of disinfectant wipes, and increased hand sanitizer in the offices and encouragement of regular, lengthy handwashing by all staff. We also gave notice and posted signs requesting that if anyone is showing signs of illness, to please reschedule or, if in office, leave and contact their provider.
We have also requested that if any staff traveled to higher risk areas, internationally or within the US, or if they developed symptoms of illness, or if they had exposure to someone with symptoms or who tested positive, to immediately let the owners know and self-quarantine at home for 14 days or more. In the event an employee or a client becomes ill, enters quarantine or tests positive for Corona virus, we will inform all other therapists and staff in the office. We created a Corona outbreak response plan that we have available if needed.
Over time, much of our therapeutic service has moved temporarily over to Telebehavioral Health through a HIPAA-Compliant, HI-Tech certified confidential videoconference platform. We use a healthcare version of Zoom that we had been using selectively for a year and a half prior to COVID events. All of our BUA staff have been trained in engaging in confidential, best-practice telebehavioral health, and have continued and updated that training through the Corona-related shifts in practice. We still have staff in the building every day, as some of our providers are doing telebehavioral health from their offices. Our therapists have the choice to do occasional in-person sessions, following recommendations of distancing as best possible and masks, for intake sessions and certain situations or certain points in treatment. However, recommendations are to engage in distancing whenever possible, and we are abiding by that.
Most insurance plans are now covering Telebehavioral health on par with in-person services and are required to do so during the COVID 19 period and the NH Governor’s State of Emergency. Emergency Order #8 also requires that “All carriers shall cover, without any cost-sharing (i.e. copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance), medically necessary treatment delivered via telehealth related to COVID-19 by in-network providers.” While some insurances are interpreting this to mean waiving co-pays and deductibles specifically for COVID issues and medical diagnosis and treatment, most NH Insurance carriers have committed to covering co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles for members for telebehavioral health therapy (and even telephonic when appropriate) during the State of Emergency. If you have questions on payment coverage for services, please contact your individual insurance plan for clarity. Your therapist will often be able to help with some questions, as well.
This COVID Pandemic is bringing enormous impact on the world and how all of us live. Many people, clients and others, are reporting increased feelings of anxiety, insecurity and struggle with the unknown of how long it will go on. Some people are struggling enormously with increased isolation. Please speak with your therapist about your individual experience, options for easing understandable emotional difficulties most of us are facing, online resources that can help, and adaptations in daily life that can be soothing and helpful as we all work together to follow social distancing to limit the outbreak.
If you have any specific questions, please contact the owners Shawn Hassell, LMFT, tel. 603-836-5003, ext. 31, or Christine Lavoie, Psy.D., LCMHC, tel. 603-836-5003, ext. 37.