PREPARING FOR COVID-19 IN OUR AREA

During times of crisis, including the recent public health concerns about COVID-19 (Coronavirus), it is natural for our anxieties to rise. The onslaught of news, information and misinformation can make us feel unsafe and unsure about how to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

One of the best ways to manage a crisis, and the anxiety that it creates, is to have a plan. Plans provide us structure and help us feel more in control, which serves to reduce our anxieties and fears.
We encourage you to consider the following tips as you develop a plan:

Practice Good Hygiene:

Health experts agree that the best way to reduce the spread of illness is to wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds at a time. They also recommend not touching your eyes, mouth and nose with your bare hands. This can take some conscious practice for those of us with a habit of putting our hands to our face.

Cover your mouth with your bent elbow when you cough and sneeze. Keep a distance from others to prevent the spread of the virus. Avoid contact with vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends keeping 1 meter (3 feet) from someone who may be sick.

Practice Self Care:

Stress and lack of sleep can make us more vulnerable to viruses such as the flu and COVID-19. Healthy eating, exercise and regular sleep can build emotional and physical resilience.

Prepare Your Home:

Consider adding extra food on your shelves and medicine in your cabinet should you get sick. While there is no need to stockpile, a few extra cans of soup and a bottle of fever-reducer such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Think about other items, such as diapers, you might require should you need to stay at home for a couple of weeks.

Consider Back-up Care:

If you have children or older adult loved ones who need care-giving, contemplate who could care for them if their usual caregiver becomes ill. Contact IMPACT for additional care options.

Prepare To Work From Home:

The best way to manage a contagious illness is to reduce exposure to others. If you are sick, stay home to avoid infecting others. Ask your employer if remote work is possible for your job.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: reference this Coronavirus Information Guide that is filled with factual information, useful tips and practices. Anthem has also provided this FAQs document for members to reference. You can also refer to you EAP Program website: www.MyImpactSolutions.com or the Gallagher's information page here: https://www.ajg.com/us/pandemic-preparedness/. To view information about COVID-19 on the CDC website, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.


A NOTE FROM OUR EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, IMPACT SOLUTIONS:

The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to challenge our normal routines as the country strives to limit the exposure of the virus. IMPACT Solutions remains focused on supporting the mental, emotional and work life needs of the organizations and clients we serve. We are well-positioned as we have been focusing for some time now on increasing access and expanding online resources to support the changing needs of our culture.

As you may know, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine filed an emergency ruling on Saturday, March 14 that allows complete mental health telehealth coverage. The emergency filing is intended to increase access to phone and video counseling by allowing clients to use their cell phones and FaceTime in lieu of traditional HIPAA compliant platforms. The ruling also eliminated the current Ohio tele-mental health regulation requiring the initial therapy appointment be conducted in person. What does all of this mean? We are still waiting for clarification from the state but we expect some community EAP therapists who traditionally saw clients face-to-face may consider offering sessions online (phone and video) for new and existing clients. This eliminates barriers to treatment and allows therapists to work remotely.

IMPACT Solutions is prepared to serve the rising need for EAP services. We do not anticipate a disruption in our ability to perform our essential duties as staff members have the ability to work remotely should the need arise. We may modify our typical internal processes as needed to meet the demand.

A few of the strategies outlined could get utilized in the days & weeks ahead however our toll-free EAP line remains available 24/7 to handle in-the-moment calls and is answered live by masters prepared clinicians.

  • Online counseling (video, phone and chat), as clinically appropriate will be encouraged as the best option for providing quick access. This modality limits exposure to the virus for both the provider and the client. We’ve expanded our national network of qualified providers as a result of our partnership with Better Help. The attached FAQ is designed to give greater detail about our online capabilities.
  • We will continue to refer to our community EAP provider network for face-to-face sessions, as provider schedules allow.
  • IMPACT’s triage counselors will conduct brief clinical assessments to determine level of care and refer to the appropriate provider as quickly as possible. However, our typical response time of one business day to respond will be tested. We will continue to monitor all requests timely and respond to the most critical needs first.
  • IMPACT clinical staff have been cross-trained and may get leveraged to help with incoming requests to maximize our response time. Due to a potential shift in duties, you may notice a delay from your dedicated account manager in responding to regular, non-urgent organizational requests such as employee orientations or trainings.
  • As always, if your organization has an urgent consult or critical incident request, please call our toll free line to speak with the on-call Account Manager who is available 24/7. Calls are returned promptly.
  • The newly created Did You Know- Mental Health Coping COVID-19 reinforces services such as financial counseling and some of our online services that can be particularly helpful to alleviate heighten stress and anxiety produced by the pandemic. Feel free to forward this to your workforce as appropriate.

For your reference, view our online counseling FAOs and mental health and COVID-19 reference document for additional help and information during this pandemic. Members can also reference this NEW COVID-19 Resource Center for additional information and support. 

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