OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19
At this time, Valentino Counseling & Consultation will continue to see clients via Telehealth indefinitely. Any and all sessions scheduled moving forward will be conducted online unless otherwise specified.
Most insurances have continued to cover Telehealth sessions and will indefinitely.
The below information supports our decision to continue with Telehealth indefinitely:
John Hopkins Public Health risk analysis calculator and flow chart shows that in office sessions are a “moderate” risk of infection transmission. With Telehealth, there is zero risk of transmission.
If you’d like more information on this, here is a link: https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/our-work/pubs_archive/pubs-pdfs/2020/200506-business-RA-worksheet.pdf
When it comes to droplet transmission, the 6 foot social distance rule only applies to interactions that are less than 10 minutes long. Since we meet for 60 minutes, there is no way for me to reasonably reduce risk with social distancing in my office. Masks do reduce risk, however, I have not found any clear research on the duration of mask wearing that is reasonably effective in an enclosed space.
The CDC, State of Ohio, and the American Psychological Association (APA) all say to utilize telehealth whenever possible.
When I contacted my liability insurance company, they informed me that they will not cover COVID-19 related issues.
In order to ethically return to the office, I would have to require you to wear a mask for the entirety of your session. Because of this, it would be necessary for me to be able to provide masks, sanitizer, cleaning products, etc. As we all know, it is difficult to have access to these items due to shortages. There are other medical facilities that need the PPE and should have access since mental health practices have the ability to be exclusively telehealth.
The State of Ohio and CDC have listed the rigorous cleaning protocols expected of in-person interactions. Sanitizing couches, chairs, surfaces, hand fidgets, pens, etc, would be an enormous undertaking in between each session.
A major concern of mine is Contact Tracing. In the event that a client would test positive for COVID-19 soon after being in my office, I would have to participate in Contact Tracing. This would require:
Breaching client confidentiality to provide The Health Department with a list of clients who were potentially exposed in my office.
Keeping detailed logs of who has entered and exited my building and at what times to provide to The Health Department.
If exposed, the therapists/other workers and clients who were in the building will need to quarantine for 14 days.
From an ethical client-focused perspective, I understand that my office is often one of the few truly safe places for many of you, and at this time it is potentially dangerous and threatening to your physical and mental well-being to be in that space with me. My office should not be a place that can create a traumatic experience for you. It is incredibly important to me that you continue to feel safe with me. I cannot promise those things under these circumstances.
We want to be clear that we have done our research, have sought out support and guidance, and have really thought this through. Above and beyond all other rationale, it is our number one priority to keep you and your families safe. This is the only way we know we can do that with 100% certainty.