To minimize the spread COVID-19, Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority (NLCMHA) is committed to providing clinical support for individuals via telephonic, video, or other virtual connections when possible. There will be cases in which a clinical face-to-face, in-person encounter is required.
Since all behavioral health services are essential to sustain and protect life and therefore must continue to be provided under the Governor’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” Order, NLCMHA will continue to provide in-person services, including in residential or other settings, if such services cannot reasonably be performed telephonically or through other virtual methods and are necessary to sustain and protect life.
These decisions will be made in conjunction with the persons served, their families and/or guardians. If, based on these conversations and in the clinical judgment of NLCMHA, a face-to-face service is necessary, these services will be provided as scheduled.
When preparing or scheduling appointments for home-based visits (e.g., ACT services, ABA services, or other types of face-to-face services), the following is to ensure the safety of the staff and the person served:
- Visits should be pre-scheduled whenever possible to gather information about the person’s clinical condition, both from a behavioral health perspective and from a physical health perspective.
- When scheduling a visit and prior to entering a home, staff should ask the following three screening questions pertaining to all household members:
- Is there any reason you have been instructed to self-quarantine or isolate? If yes, why?
- Have you had contact with any confirmed or probable COVID-19 case within the last 14 days?
- Do you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath)?
If requested by the individual, and it is determined to be medically necessary, staff are expected to complete a face-to-face encounter if the answer to all three questions is “no” from all members of the individual’s home or residential setting. If the answer to any of the three questions is “yes”, and the person requires an in-person visit, i.e., such as crisis intervention, then the provider would provide service using appropriate PPE and social distancing.
Staff should be aware that persons served or their families may be uncomfortable with a provider entering the home; in this case, the visit should be rescheduled or conducted via telehealth. A face-to-face encounter in a residential or home setting should be rescheduled or provided via telehealth if any resident is in isolation or quarantined.