4

Making a Personal Connection
For Change

Family Psychological Services COVID-19 Continuity of Care Plan:
Updated May 25, 2020

Has FPS "Opened Back Up"?

We never closed. Some of our staff are still video-only and some are open to seeing you live using a specific physical distancing protocol noted below. We've been pleased with telehealth in the last two months and many clients have adapted to it with aplomb. Most insurance companies have agreed to cover the costs just as they would live sessions. Blue Cross of Kansas has even agreed to cover all the costs until June 30th.Blue Cross of Kansas City has recently modified their policy to do the same. IRL (In Real Life) sessions still incur the usual charges.

Regardless of how you get services, please don't sacrifice your mental health or your family's during the COVID pandemic. Articles are coming out every day warning of the toll social distancing takes on mental health, and we're seeing it on our caseloads.

What If I Need to Late Cancel or I No-Show?

We are trying to be flexible with our clients during COVID-19. If you late cancel for any reason related to health or your personal concerns about health and you cannot attend, we'll waive the late charge. If you fail to appear without notice, we may charge the late fee as per your informed consent. However, if you can provide a good reason for the no-show, we'll work with you. Please remember, however, that other people want to get in. Even a late cancel may offer someone a chance to take your place. Any help you can offer on this is greatly appreciated.

How Can I Learn More About My Insurance Situation During the Pandemic?

All insurance companies have COVID-19 information on the front page of their websites. Most are encouraging telehealth visits. Some are covering copays and deductibles for a limited period of time. We'll try and keep you updated, but it's wise to check your benefits. To make that easier, here's a list of insurance web pages for plans we take:

Aetna  www.aetna.com
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas  www.bcbsks.com
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City  www.blueck.com
Blue Cross Blue Shield (Another State)  search for this in your web search bar or look on back of card for website
Cigna  www.cigna.com
CoreSource/Trustmark    www.trustmarkbenefits.com
United/Optum   www.optum.com
UMR    www.umr.com

Helpful hints: If you call to inquire about Mental Health benefits and you don’t hear that option, pick "medical." Otherwise, pick mental health benefits. When they ask what benefits you are calling about tell them “outpatient mental health office visits by telehealth”.  They may ask if you are seeing a provider in or out of network. We typically do our best to match you with in network providers when you start services. However, if you're unsure, just email our office and we'll help you figure it out. Due to the increase in calls to insurance companies, sometimes the wait can be longer than usual (maybe 15-30 minutes before you get to talk to someone). Be sure to have your insurance card ready as you will need your member ID number.

If you need assistance, please let the office know. Our business office is open and Carrie and Bailie are ready to help in any way they can. Or you can email us at carriepoemba@fpssecure.com. That's a HIPAA compliant, encrypted email address so feel free to share what you need to share.

What If I Want to Come to the Office for My Session?

Our therapists are increasing their availability for IRL (in real life) sessions, but we're still playing it safe to protect our staff and other clients. And we will be playing it safe for the foreseeable future. To do an IRL session, you must be free of illness or fever, not have traveled recently to an area with high Coronavirus infection and willing to use our infection control procedures to reduce the risk to yourself and our staff. That includes waiting in the parking lot until we come out to get you, washing your hands immediately when you enter the building -- no ifs, ands, or buts -- and keeping as much distance from others as possible. For our part, we're each doing a full scrub between clients and using CDC approved cleaners that goes beyond recent CDC guidance. And, the waiting room will remain shut down for the foreseeable future (hence sitting in your car until we "car hop" you).

Seeing you live or on video is a decision that your therapist must ultimately make based on his or her read of the situation. While we want to be flexible to meet client needs, please respect your therapist's choice if he or she elects video conferencing.

What If I'm Concerned About Finances?

We may have some payment plan options available depending upon your insurance coverage.

Will FPS Become a KanCare (Medicaid) Provider?

Given these exigent circumstances, we have moved to get our staff credentialed with KanCare for a limited client base of children and teenagers. Because the Republican-lead Kansas legislature has again refused to expand Medicaid, FPS will not see adults on KanCare because they nearly always exceed our scope of practice. Because we have a limited capacity for KanCare cases, our priority will be existing clients who've lost their work/and or health insurance, followed by new child and teen clients who have lost services as other mental health practices close down, followed by new teen and child clients who are wanting to initiate services. If you are wanting to see someone, please send in our Ask About Services Form and we'll give you the latest information.

What About Meds?

Our medication services are proceeding without interuption, with one issue you need to be aware of. Kelsey is working from home right now. She can meet with you on Zoom.us or Face Time and fill your prescriptions remotely, preferably at our community partner pharmacy, Sigler. Bailie is now working as Kelsey's medication assistant. Contact the office for her email address. You should also go to our Medication_Management web page to remind yourself of the requirements for med management and see Kelsey's Twitter feed to keep updated moment to moment. Here's the one issue: Our therapy policy, as stated on that page, remains in effect. Now more than ever, you need to be seen regularly by a therapist at FPS if you're going to continue medication with us. That therapist may be in office or inside your computer screen, but working at a distance, ongoing contact is necessary. If you've made an arrangement with Kelsey and your therapist (both) to be medication-only, that's fine but please do not presume that is the case.

When Will All This End?

Do not be lulled by governmental lifting of social distancing. That is a political and economic calculation, not reflective of epidemiological reality. The risk is far from over and the most reliable models have been revised to suggest that we're in for at least 145,000 COVID-19 deaths through August and that it will probably continue into next year. Family Psychological Services will continue our infection reduction procedures as long as necessary to keep our in-office clients and our staff as safe as possible.

Are You Taking New Clients?

Yes, to the extent time allows. It's possible to create a good working relationship on video conference. It's not ideal, but doable in the short term. We've done quite a few video intakes in the last few weeks, as well as some IRL intakes, depending on the therapist comfort level and client need.

What About Kids and Telehealth?

Young people so love their phones that you'd think they'd want all their therapy to stream down like Netflix, wouldn't you? Not so much. Our college students have liked telehealth, or at least tolerated it, over the years, but we have less experience using video conferencing with high school students, and even less with middle schoolers and elementary. The answer is: we're finding out five days a week. What we know for sure, kids are going to need our services, as will their parents. These times are a big challenge for families and as the fall looks more and more uncertain in terms of college and public school attendance, that won't change any time soon. Don't hesitate to reach out.

How Can We Help Our Younger Kids Understand All That's Going On These Days?

Kids will look to adults to gauge their reaction to any untoward situation. Please remember that despite all the concerns, the severity of the risk to any given individual, particularly a child, is very low, particularly if they are practicing good hand hygiene. The way we are discussing it with young people is as a matter of risk management, and that for the vast majority of people who may get this virus, the issue will be one of inconvenience and hardship: having to be quarantined, tested, off work, out of school, and basically sidelined from life, even if one does not fall ill. COVID is a serious issue. That's why we've been prepping for it since March 1st. But kids can feel safe knowing that we are, as a society, responding. Help kids understand that shutting down our lobby, using video conferencing, closing school, and practicing isolation in our community is meant to help them be safe. Those of us who have clear memories of 911 and the recession of 2008, know fears and discomforts well. It is valuable to remind kids that we've faced hard things before and in the end we will prevail.