COVID-19 Plan to Return to Face-to-Face Sessions

As the state of Iowa continues to open up through the COVID-19 pandemic, Heart and Solutions is dedicated to the safety and needs of its clients and team members.

As of the date of this article, Iowa Medicaid has extended telehealth coverage until June 25th, 2020.  We recognize the clinical need that many of our clients have for face to face sessions at this time and the need for our Medicaid clients to be able to continue to receive services after June 25th.

The measures that will be in place going forward to allow the start of face-to-face sessions beginning June 15th will take part in three phases. The purpose of this is to provide as much autonomy, personal choice, safety and protection as possible to our clients and to our team members, to continue to provide mental health and behavioral health counseling services to our clients, and to comply with the standards of service imposed by each insurance provider so that our clients do not get stuck with an unexpected bill.

Phase 1 –  June 15th to June 25th

Agency Wide Protective Measures

  • All providers
  • Voluntary face to face sessions are available for Medicaid clients from June 15th to June 25th.
    • Neither providers, nor clients are required to hold face to face sessions at this time as telehealth is still an option for all insurance types

– Clients who chose to return to face to face sessions must sign the Client Face to Face Session Waiver Agreement 6-10-2020 based on the recommendations of the APA.

– Clients and team members who decide that starting to do face to face sessions at this time is right for them will need to be aware of the following information:

  • Need to wash hands or use sanitizer prior to the start of each session
  • Cancel or reschedule or do telehealth if they have symptoms without late fees or counting towards their three cancelations before standby status
  • Providers will be practicing social distancing in sessions and not engaging in any physical touch (high fives, handshakes, etc.)  (6 ft.)

– As before, clients will please notify their provider if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19

– Please limit office and session supplies to things that can be easily sanitized

– Please do not congregate between sessions in offices or common areas

In-Office Protective Measures 

  • Office supervisor will assign providers days of the week to start seeing Medicaid clients in the office
  • Masks are required to be worn by anyone in the office
  • Clients and providers must wash their hands or utilize hand sanitizer at the start of each session
  • Providers will utilize the Office Cleaning Checklistto ensure that offices are appropriately sanitized between sessions and at the end of each day

Providers practice social distancing

  • Arrange furniture in office to be as distanced as possible from clients

– Signs will be posted in each office

– in-office clients wait in their cars and will text their provider when they arrive.  The provider will text the client when they can come into the office.  No one is allowed to wait in the waiting room at this time.

In-Home Protective Measures

  • Masks required to be worn by BHIS providers in home
  • Providers and clients are required to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer at the start and the end of each session

– BHIS specific materials that can be picked up in the offices or purchased without reimbursement pre approval

– Zip top bags so that each family can have their own supplies to be brought to the sessions each week

– Crayons to put in the bag

– Playing cards to be put in their bag

– Construction/notebook paper to put in their bag

– Providers must practice social distancing during in home sessions staying at least 6 feet away from clients and family members

Phase 2 – Beginning on June 26th

  • After June 25th, all sessions completed must be done in person.
  • Private insurance can remain telehealth until their expiration dates
  • Options will be provided to clients if they do not want to do in home sessions or in office sessions once the insurance company does not cover telehealth sessions

Phase 3 – Private Insurance Telehealth End Dates

UHC – 7/24/2020

Cigna – 7/31/2020

Aetna – 9/30/2020

BCBS – 8/31/2020

Please contact Heart and Solutions with any concerns going forward or if you would like to begin mental health therapy or behavioral health intervention services (BHIS)! Heart and Solutions, LLC is a strength based mental health counseling agency. Our talented team members utilize person centered, solution focused, cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, as well as a variety of other evidence based interventions and curriculum’s that are custom tailored to the needs of our individual clients and families.

Written by Julie Johnson on June 15, 2020.

Dr. Julie Johnson, PsyD, LMHC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor and the owner, founder and president of Heart and Solutions, LLC. Julie is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Behavioral Health Leadership. Julie graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with concentrations in Sociology, Psychology and Literature. Julie then went on to earn her Master’s in Mental Health Counselor from the University of Northern Iowa in 2011. Julie earned her Doctorate of Psychology in Behavioral Health Leadership in 2021. Prior to forming the Heart and Solutions team, Julie has served as a BHIS provider, a mental health therapist and as Vice President of a therapy and BHIS agency. Julie is a proud member of the American Counselor Association. Julie is dedicated to creating a positive and productive experience for the clients that we serve, the members of the Heart and Solutions Team and our surrounding communities. Julie utilizes a team approach to leadership and client-centered services.

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