COVID-19 resources from Michael Archer, Psy.D.
There is some additional anxiety among psychologists who are concerned about their own risk for infection with COVID-19, as well as needing to plan for their patients and practice continuity. Its wise to think about ways to preserve your practice and yourself. There are links below to some excellent resources for personal and practice planning.
What We Know About COVID-19: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/NovelCoronavirusFactSheet.pdf
Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions to Avoid Infection: https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/index.html
Consider social isolation distancing for patients who are in your office, keeping 6 feet if possible between yourself and your patient.
Office Sanitation: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
Perform Routine Environmental Cleaning
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
- No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
Personal Preparedness: Consider what supplies and food you may need at home, in the event you have to self-isolate. These might include non-perishable foods such as pasta, rice, seasonings, soups etc. Remember to include sanitary and cleaning supplies, over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as anything you may need for pets.
Preparation for Schools: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus/Schools
Business Continuity: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/getting-workplace-ready-for-covid-19.pdf
- Plan for alternate sites of care or telehealth if available
- Plan for access to records and ability to maintain records
- Plan for communication
- Manage finances
- Keep essential contacts in more than one location (accountant, bank, billing, building management, insurance)
- Keep back up copies of your computers OS, critical software and manuals, as well as passwords and log in codes
- Where possible, keep hard copies of critical information/files and computer back-ups offsite
- Regularly back up your data and records
- Have an emergency cash reserve fund
- Have credit available in terms of a card or line of credit
- Identify financial obligations that must be paid
- Consider insurance to reimburse for business disruptions in addition to physical losses, and include business income coverage
Telehealth: In order to move to telehealth, it is important to do some preparation and obtain training. There are a number of ways to obtain training, for example: https://telehealth.org
- Develop an informed consent for telehealth
- Inform and educate your patients
- Plan for emergency situations
- Consider billing and insurance considerations: For example, although voice, ie telephone, technically falls into the board category of telemedicine/teletherapy, it does not meet the standard for billing insurance. If you have a private pay patient they can pay for just phone, but in order to bill insurance it must be synchronous with audio AND video at the same time. The other way you are allowed is asynchronous - where you record audio and video segments and send them to your provide and your provider records audio and video and sends them back.
- For further reading, see: Ruggiero, K., Resnick, H., Acierno, M., et al. Internet-Based Intervention for Mental Health and Substance Use Problems in Disaster-Affected Populations: A Pilot Feasibility Study. Behavior Therapy 37 (2006) 190205.
Managing the Stress of an Infectious Outbreak: