Family Psychological Services COVID-19 Continuity of Care Plan:
Is FPS Operating During the COVID Stay-At-Home Period?
Updated March 23, 2020
Absolutely. The KC Metro and also Douglas County order expressly exempts mental health services from the stay-at-home. So, even with the "lockdown," we're free to see you. There are two options for doing this: Live sessions and telehealth using Face Time or Zoom.us. We've done a lot of video conferencing over the years with college students and others who've moved away from Lawrence. It does work and, for some people, it's a lot more convenient than schlepping over to our office. All insurance companies have agreed to cover the costs just as they would live sessions, so we can forge ahead. Blue Cross of Kansas (not Kansas City) has even agreed to cover all the costs for the next sixty days, so if you want to do telehealth, you won't have a copay or deductible. Live sessions will incur the same charges as usual.
Regardless of how you get services, please, please, please, do not sacrifice your mental health during the COVID stay-at-home period in order to protect your physical health. Both are important and as the stress of isolation grows, you'll want to put even more effort into managing your emotional, cognitive, and behavioral health. We've been planning for this for weeks and we are ready to help.What If I Want to Come to the Office?
Most of our therapists are open to seeing you live. However, you must be free of illness, not have travelled recently to an area with high Coronavirus infection, and be 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 on our office furniture and door nobs. And of course, we've shut down the waiting room (hence sitting in your car until we "car hop" you, in order to reduce person to person contact. For those of you who have watched this page for the last three weeks, you know we've had these plans in place so that they are now paying off.What If I'm Concerned About Finances?
Dr. Wes was in private practice after 911 and througout the great recession. We will work with you to make sure services are available if you are willing to work with us. We can set up payment plans and in some cases, delay implementing them for a few weeks. If you are on BCBS of Kansas and you want to do telehealth, you'll get free services for a period of sixty days. So, even if you are in at tight spot right now, they have you covered. And by the way, please say THANKS to BCBS of KS. This is a wonderful gift in difficult times.What About Meds?
All is good, with one issue you need to be aware of. Kelsey is working from home now. She can meet with you on Zoom.us or Face time and fill your prescriptions remotely. Be in touch with her by email or phone and she will respond to the extent her schedule allows. Please go to our Medication_Management web page to remind yourself of the requirements for med management. You can also Kelsey's Twitter feed on that page 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 are going to continue medication with us. That therapist may be live or inside your computer screen, but especially working at a distance, continuous 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. This will not change during the COVID period, so if you haven't made an appointment with your therapist, please do so now. Carrie will be working from home and everything will be staying the same.When Will All This End?
Not soon enough. But it will be at least thirty days, and we believe it could be much longer. Never have we been more thankful as a society to have the Internet than we are right now and let us hope that it can hold up under the strain.Are You Taking New Clients?
Yes we are as time allows. It's more challenging to see people you don't know on video, so whenever possible we like to see you at least once or twice live. However, video intakes can also work so, in the end, the choice is up to you. Dr. Wes gets requests all over the world for ADHD consultations. Many young people meet dating partners online. It's possible to create a good working relationship this way. It's not ideal, but doable in the short term. For the time being this is going to be the reality of much healthcare service delivery, and as noted above, it may be like this for awhile, even as we're all dealing with more stress than ever before. So, if you or your child or family member are in need of a therapist, we are ready to serve you. Just be aware that we have a specific scope of practice outlined on our website and we will work within that to practice effectively and ethically even during these exigent times.What if I Cancel?
We understand things are coming up right now. Be in contact with your therapist so they know why you are cancelling. However, be aware that we have new clients ever day asking to get in. We will fill openings when they arise and if you discontinue services for any length of time (3-4 weeks) you may not be able to get in later on. We are a business and we will serve those who can make it in or who are willing to do telehealth, as long as they are in our scope of practice.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: Apparently, we'll find out. Who knows, this may be the next big thing. Right up there with SnapChat. What we know for sure, based just on these first few days of the crisis: Kids are going to need our services, as will their parents. These times will be a big challenge for families. Perhaps the defining challenge our children's lifetimes. 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 and feel crappy. COVID is a serious issue. That's why we've been prepping for it for weeks. But kids can feel safe knowing that we as a society are responding. Even this period of isolation is an example of keeping them safe. While there will be deaths, we genuinely do not know the mortality rate of COVID at this time and it could end up being under 1%. Help kids understand that shutting down our office, the school, and the community is meant to help them be safe and, if we didn't mention it enough times already, 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 such things before and in the end we will prevail.