COVID-19

Updated: 12/15/2020 

Since resuming in-person services following the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, MHS continues to adhere to strict physical distancing, mask wearing, and sanitation policies to minimize the risk of transmission within our clinic environments.  This update serves to reinforce these policies and to make changes and additions.

Guidelines review and updates

  • If you feel ill, call your clinician and stay home. 
  • Masks must be worn in public spaces in all clinics at all times by all. 
    • MHS will provide suitable temporary masks for any person who needs one until they can acquire an adequate mask.
    • Masks must be worn appropriately at all times in public spaces.  Therefore, no eating or drinking in public spaces can be allowed.
    • It is not an option to meet for individual therapy sessions without masks worn by both the client and the staff.
  • Physical distancing is expected to be in place at all times that it is possible.  Efforts should be made to minimize time of contact when it may be difficult to distance (e.g., passing in a hallway).  Extended time spent where distancing is not possible is prohibited (e.g., having a conversation in the hallway). 
  • Before and after sessions, as well as during breaks in and around the buildings that we occupy, all mask and physical distancing expectations for clients remain in place.  There is no eating allowed in clinics unless medically necessary. Clients can briefly shift masks to drink if done in a designated large, open space.  A distance of 6 feet from others must be maintained and return to wearing a mask as soon as possible. MHS staff will monitor to ensure that clients adhere to guidelines.
  • MHS will continue to sanitize the clinic spaces between sessions.
  • If there is a report of a client or staff member with a positive diagnosis of COVID, as with other infectious disease exposures, you will be informed that you have had a potential exposure and you will be advised to monitor for symptoms of COVID.  However, due to the protective measures that we have in place at MHS quarantine will not be indicated per CDC guidelines.  MHS will not reveal the identity of the person connected to the potential exposure.
  • MHS may switch a service to virtual for individuals or whole groups when it is warranted by circumstances (for example, a client or staff member may need to quarantine at the recommendation of a heath care provider).
  • If 30% or more of a group needs to quarantine, MHS may temporarily switch the whole group to virtual for continuity of care.
  •  If individuals are failing to follow these policies they will be asked to do so, if they refuse to comply they will be asked to leave the premises. Continued or repeated failure to follow the policies is a therapy interfering behavior that will be addressed immediately and if it cannot be resolved could lead to discharge.
  • MHS strongly encourages all staff and clients to obtain a flu vaccination this year.
  • MHS will consult with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) if there is evidence of community spread within an MHS clinic and take appropriate action that complies with their recommendations.

 

Resources:

Updated: 11/24/2020

Dear Clients:

We have all been aware that COVID-19 case rates have been on the rise in Minnesota, and nearly everyone is feeling anxiety about this worsening crisis.  At MHS, we share your concerns which is why we continue the mitigation strategies we have successfully put into place since the beginning of the pandemic. 

In particular, we sanitize before all appointments and maintain strict masking and social distancing.  We have strict message discipline about following these straightforward, effective guidelines because frequent reminders result in behavioral discipline in maintaining what works.  We also have protocols for monitoring infections among therapists, staff, and clients to determine if community spread happens in our therapy environments.  If needed, individual program groups can be delivered online if the data supports such a move.

To date, although we have seen a small number of COVID-19 infections from exposure outside of our clinics, we have seen no evidence of any spread within our clinics.

Maintaining safety means that all of us need to make the best possible decisions about our choices in all community settings, and even with our close friends and family.  Data is showing that spread from small gatherings has been a driver of the recent case rate increases, so we implore our therapists and clients to be thoughtful outside of our walls.  This knowledge is why we continually discuss, and have since the inception of the pandemic, vigilance with our guidelines.  We thank you for following our guidelines exactly when you are within our clinics.

During these times we have seen a roughly two to one preference for in-person therapy services which is why we continue to provide them safely.  That said, we also offer all services remotely via Telehealth.  Please contact your therapist if you believe that remote services are the best option.  In that event, there may be permanent changes in your therapist and group composition.  And again, if based on cases any given program group needs to move to remote for a period of time, then we will take that action immediately.

Please let us know if you have questions, and thank you for your efforts during this challenging time for us all.

 

Best Regards,

Dr. Lane Pederson

Owner, MHS

 

Updated: 4/30/20

 

Dear Clients:

With so much change in our community and lives we want to stay ahead of how insurance coverage might be affected.

If their has been an employment change in your household, please see if it affected your insurance coverage and what your options might be, including coverage through the  health insurance exchange.  They are accepting new applicants at this time.  Alternatively, you may qualify for Medicaid (also known as MA) through an application to your home county for this state assistance. 

If you seek Medicaid (MA) coverage, know that in recent years Minnesota moved to prepaid medical plans purchased from a menu of different “commercial” insurance providers in the state.  

Each county can have different lists so consult with your county about the plans available and confirm with your healthcare providers that they accept the plan you are considering before you make your final choice.  Otherwise, you may need to change providers.  

Also note that these “commercial” medical plans do not cover expenses prior to their activation.  If you anticipate a gap of coverage please speak to your county about starting coverage first with Medicaid (MA) to avoid uncovered expenses.  The Medicaid (MA) would automatically become inactive when the “commercial” plan starts.

With all changes in coverage please let your provider immediately know and provide the information about your new insurance. 

If you have questions about the process we can help you find the right people to talk to for the help you need.

 

Thank you,

Your Treatment Team at MHS

 


 

Updated: 4/21/2020


For Persons with COVID-19 Under Isolation:

The decision to discontinue isolation* should be made in the context of local circumstances. Options now include both 1) a time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery (non-test-based) strategy, and 2) test-based strategy.

Time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery strategy (non-test-based strategy)

Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

 

Test-based strategy (simplified from initial protocol) Previous recommendations for a test-based strategy remain applicable; however, a test-based strategy is contingent on the availability of ample testing supplies and laboratory capacity as well as convenient access to testing. For jurisdictions that choose to use a test-based strategy, the recommended protocol has been simplified so that only one swab is needed at every sampling

Persons who have COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

 

Persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue isolation when at least 7 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness provided they remain asymptomatic. For 3 days following discontinuation of isolation, these persons should continue to limit contact (stay 6 feet away from others) and limit potential of dispersal of respiratory secretions by wearing a covering for their nose and mouth whenever they are in settings where other persons are present. In community settings, this covering may be a barrier mask, such as a bandana, scarf, or cloth mask. The covering does not refer to a medical mask or respirator.

 

Footnotes

*Note that recommendations for discontinuing isolation in persons known to be infected with COVID-19 could, in some circumstances, appear to conflict with recommendations on when to discontinue quarantine for persons known to have been exposed to COVID-19. CDC recommends 14 days of quarantine after exposure based on the time it takes to develop illness if infected. Thus, it is possible that a person known to be infected could leave isolation earlier than a person who is quarantined because of the possibility they are infected.

 

**This recommendation will prevent most but cannot prevent all instances of secondary spread.  The risk of transmission after recovery, is likely substantially less than that during illness; recovered persons will not be shedding large amounts of virus by this point if they are shedding at all. Certain employers can choose to apply more stringent criteria for certain returning workers where a higher threshold to prevent transmission is warranted.  These criteria can include requiring a longer time after recovery or requiring they get tested to show they are not shedding virus. Such persons include healthcare workers in close contact with vulnerable persons at high-risk for illness and death if those persons get COVID-19. It also includes persons who work in critical infrastructure or with high-value human assets (e.g., military) where introduction of COVID-19 could cause major disruptions or reduce national security. Lastly, persons who have conditions that might weaken their immune system could have prolonged viral shedding after recovery. Such persons should discuss with their healthcare provider how best to assess if they are safe to return to work; this might include getting tested again to show that they are not shedding virus.

 

***All test results should be final before isolation is ended. Testing guidance is based upon limited information and is subject to change as more information becomes available.

 


 


Updated: 4/6/2020

 

Dear Clients and Community,

On Monday, April 13th MHS will reopen its in-person intensive outpatient programs. 

Our decision to close for two weeks was to help to stabilize the health of the population of the State and to make sure our building complexes themselves stayed open and provided essential services like cleaning and sanitation.  


We will continue the social distancing and disinfection measures we instituted for all in-person services.  In addition, in accordance with new CDC recommendations, MHS will have staff wear face coverings and require clients to do so too. The use of masks is a clear and easy way to decrease the unintended spread by individuals who are not demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19, so to help all clients to attend with a face-covering we provide the following information on how to make a face-covering: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

https://www.raegunramblings.com/how-to-make-a-face-mask-from-a-shirt-no-sew/#wprm-recipe-container-24212

 

We recognize that our services meet the definition of essential services.  What we do together is vital for the mental health of our clients. 

In addition to re-opening in-person services, during these past two weeks, MHS therapists have worked to increase their training and skills in Telehealth, and MHS management has worked with insurance companies to increase our Telehealth options. 


We will also begin to expand these options starting with our clients who are in high-risk categories and continuing from there.  Because Telehealth is a new service for intensive outpatient levels of care, the roll-out of these services must be done in an organized and careful manner.  Please also know that our platform for Telehealth is secure and HIPPA-compliant.  See Remote Video Session (Telehealth) Procedures and Expectations.

Your therapist at MHS will be contacting you over the next couple of business days in regard to your services.  It has been reported that some of our Telehealth invitation emails are landing in "junk" folders.  Please check your junk folder for the email, right-click on it to reclassify it as not junk, and move it to your primary inbox.  

 


 

How to Use Zoom for Telehealth at MHS

 

MHS is temporarily moving to Telehealth services. The instructions below are to help you with this process.

Zoom is a teleconferencing software that is widely used in a variety of environments to facilitate communication and, in the health field, Telehealth services.  The version used by MHS is HIPPA compliant, meaning that the identity of the participants is protected by improved data security and management.  You can use Zoom on your computer or your smartphone.  

 

Preparing for Use of Zoom

If you are going to engage in Telehealth sessions with your therapist, you will need to do a few things ahead of time.  First, you will need to download the software.  You can download the software by clicking this link https://zoom.us/download. You will need to scroll to the appropriate device and click or tap through to begin the download.  In addition to this, you will also need a stable internet connection.  Using Zoom through a data plan will expend a variable amount of data, but the average is one megabyte per minute.  We recommend using a wireless (or wired, if using a PC) network.  Make sure that you are connected in advance.  This can generally be done by going to your phone’s settings section, tapping through to the wireless icon, and identifying your preferred network. 

 

Getting Started Information Page - https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697


Zoom Tutorial Videos - https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials

Telehealth Informed Consent Form - please review, print, sign, and return to your clinician.  

 

Your First Zoom Meeting

Once you have done your preparations, your therapist will send you an email with an invitation to participate in Zoom.  This email will have a link to click and a meeting ID.  You will need to save this email, as you will be required to indicate your meeting ID when you enter.  Regardless of using the app or software on a PC, you do not need to create an account.  Simply click the link, or hit “Join Meeting” on the app to begin your session.  You will be asked to enter a password, this is found on the invitation email. Remember to check your "junk" folder as we are learning that invitations are landing there at times.

 

Making the Best of Teletherapy

While Telehealth might not be your (or our) preferred way of doing therapy, it can still be effective.  We recommend finding a comfortable place that is quiet, safe and comfortable.  Be mindful of where you are and who might be present.  We recommend using earbuds or headphones, so that our feedback to you is heard only by you, and not by others, you will be asked if you are in a safe secure space.

 

Keeping Your Session Confidential

We at MHS will not engage in any nonconsensual recording or observation.  We ask that you likewise protect yourself by ensuring that you are talking to us from a private location, that you are not engaging in any internet activity that might include recording or streaming your session, and that you do not include anyone in the session that is not explicitly disclosed at the beginning of the session and agreed to by your therapist. 

  

Remote Video Session (Telehealth) Procedures and Expectations

 

All COVID-19 Related Letters to Clients

Adult Diary Card

IDD Diary Card

Teen Diary Card

EAP Diary Card

Behavior Chain Analysis

Release of Information

Telehealth Informed Consent Form

Community Mitigation Strategies

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health 

DIY Face Cloth Coverings

Helpful Tips for Staying Healthy

 

Referrals and Intakes

952-835-2002