a word of caution

image23

Through an online discussion with Mayor Jenny Wilson and Blake Thomas, Economic Development Director, Salt Lake County, this morning, we learned some unfortunate news: there are people taking advantage of vulnerable populations, especially aging persons, via scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are disheartened to learn this and are anticipating that our clientele and community will need to express increased caution. 


HERE IS WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW

General:

· Be aware of financial scamming (including email scams and contests related to COVID-19 – they are likely scams, too) 

· Be aware that most people don’t have to do anything additional to get their stimulus check or their tax return after they have filed taxes; a call for more information is likely a scam


WHAT TO DO

· Stay calm and try to collect information from any potential in-person scammer 

· Call your local non-emergency line and speak to a police officer, if you believe that you have been victimized by a scammer


WHAT NOT TO DO

Email:

· Do not click on links that you aren’t familiar with – you can “hover” over the link with your mouse to find out the source; if it is not a trusted source, do not click on it

· Do not open attachments from anyone you do not know

· Do not give personal information to anyone you do not know


Physical Health:

· Do not buy cures, vaccines, or COVID-19 treatments right now

· As approved treatments become available, medical teams will present them to the general public and there will be news coverage confirming approved treatments. 


Phone:

· Scammers are also contacting people to report that their friends or family members are unable to pay for COVID-19 treatments; this is not true; do not give any personal information or money to the person on the phone


Home Visits:

· A person may come to your door, stating that they are with the CDC

· They may offer you COVID-19-related surveillance and attempt to step inside your home

· Do not give any personal information or money to the person at your door and do not allow them to come into your home


It is our hope at ERC that our community bands together at this time. Many vulnerable and marginalized populations are at risk simply because of an overexposure to COVID-19 symptoms, paired with a lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE).  Sharing information at this time is a potentially protective measure. If you are in the Murray area, we have listed the Murray City Police Department's Non-Emergency Line below. Please continue to practice safe measures. 


We are here when you need us.


*Please note: the list above is compiled by an ERC Mental Health Specialist based on their interpretation of the meeting referenced above and not provided directly by the meeting organizers.*

Murray City Police Department's Non-Emergency Line:

801.264.2673

ERC'S COVID-19 RESPONSE

May 1, 2020


Dear Clients,


Thank you for your continued support through this difficult time.  We care about you and value the opportunity we have to work together.  As we transition from crisis to stability, we want you to know we are working hard to make educated and informed decisions about safely moving forward.  Our highest priority is to keep our staff and clients safe and healthy.


We are writing to provide you an update on ERC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Fortunately, through the use of telehealth we have been able to minimize interruption in our services.  Effective today, we are extending our plan to exclusively provide telehealth services until June 29.  We are unable to offer in-office sessions at this time.  


ERC’s staff will work diligently throughout May and June to develop a plan to secure appropriate cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment to safely transition back to in-office work.  We will continue to rely on medical expertise in our decision-making process and evaluate and update our continuity plan prior to June 29.  


Some clients have expressed concern about returning to the office.  ERC’s telehealth services are HIPAA-compliant, were available prior to the pandemic and will continue to be an option for anyone interested after we transition back to face-to-face sessions.  


During the pandemic, most insurance companies have amended their policies and procedures to cover telehealth sessions.  We will do our best to keep apprised of any changes to reimbursement policies and pass that information on to you.  Due to the number of insurance plans and policies, we strongly encourage you to carefully read any updates you get from your insurance company and reach out to them if you have questions about coverage (including telehealth coverage).


Thank you again for choosing ERC.  As always, we are committed to providing quality care and want to be of support to you and your loved ones.  Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.  We’re here when you need us.  


Warmly,

ERC

COVID-19 Check In

Originally posted to our Insta, @ercgram, Amanda Gonzalez, Co-Founder, Mental Health Specialist, MSW, LCSW, checks in on our current experience

March 26, 2020


Dear Clients,


First and foremost, we want to send loving kindness to you and your loved ones.  We hope you are safe and practicing self-care during this difficult time.  We are writing to give you an update on ERC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


For the safety of our community, clients, and staff, effective March 30 to May 4, ERC will discontinue in-office sessions and see clients utilizing our secure telehealth service.  All in-office appointments will be rescheduled.  


All other matters reflected in our previous continuity plan dated March 15 (below) will be extended and remain in effect until May 4.  We will review our continuity plan before then and continue to closely monitor developments related to COVID-19.  We will inform you of any changes that impact your services at ERC.  For additional resources or up-to-date information about our response, please visit https://ercounseling.com/covid-19-response.


Thank you for your continued patience as we adjust to take appropriate precautions.  As always, we are committed to providing quality care and want to be of support to you and your loved ones.  Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.


Warmly,

ERC

March 15, 2020


Dear Clients,


We are reaching out to give you an update on ERC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


There is a lot of information to digest about the ongoing health risks associated with the virus, not to mention the closing of businesses, schools, churches and government agencies.  For some, we know this causes a great deal of stress and has the potential to intensify symptoms of anxiety and panic.  ERC is committed to providing the support we can during this difficult time and to actively participate in the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


ERC will be implementing the following continuity plan from March 15 through March 27.  We did our best to balance the community’s need to take precautionary measures and our clients’ needs.  


First, we are asking clients to utilize telehealth services in which your therapist will provide sessions using a secure, HIPAA compliant internet service (similar to Skype or FaceTime).  Your therapist will be reaching out to you in order to coordinate this effort.  


For those who will be doing sessions via telehealth, please review the attached informed consent document about your important rights and responsibilities.


Also, we understand that, for some, there are legitimate barriers to using telehealth and our staff will explore options with you on a case-by-case basis.  We may offer a limited number of in-office sessions.


If, after conferring with your therapist, you make arrangements for sessions in our office, we ask that you monitor yourself for any concerning symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, or coughing.  Anyone who comes in sick or exhibits these symptoms will be asked to cancel their appointment and reschedule using telehealth.


On another note, based on information from the CDC, older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions (i.e. heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease) are at higher risk.  Please consider how your specific health conditions may impact risks associated with COVID-19.


Those clients and staff who come into the office are asked to please practice good hygiene with frequent hand washing and social distancing (avoid close contact with others). 


With this, we ask that adult clients attend sessions alone.  Family members will not be allowed to stay in the common waiting area at this time.  


If your counselor chooses to see children, we ask that they be accompanied by only one adult.


ERC is committed to doing our part to follow the guidance of health officials by requesting our therapists practice good self-care and if they are sick to take the time they need to get healthy and, if necessary, care for sick family members. 


We have also asked that staff members adjust their schedules to accommodate additional cleaning tasks.  An example of this would be limiting sessions to 45 minutes so the clinician can have time in between sessions to properly disinfect and clean.  We will do our best to mitigate the impact this has on our client sessions.


In the case that your appointment is impacted by any of the above we ask for your continued patience and understanding.  We have included some additional information below we hope will be helpful.  Included is information on COVID-19 which appears to come from valid, scientific sources; resources for those who may need additional support; and some information on effectively managing anxiety and panic.


Finally, we will review our continuity plan before March 27 and continue to closely monitor developments related to COVID-19.  We will inform you of any changes that impact your services at ERC.  


As always, we are committed to providing quality care and want to be of support to you and your loved ones.  Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.


Warmly,

ERC


Additional Information on COVID-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://coronavirus.utah.gov

https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/covid-19-coronavirus-infographic-datapack/

https://slco.org/covid-19/

https://coronavirus.utah.gov/coronavirus-resources/


Available Resources

https://uw.org/211/resource-lists-by-county/


Managing Anxiety and Panic

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/becoming-solutionary/202003/what-covid-19-can-teach-us-about-mindfulness

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/how-to-cope-with-the-mental-health-impacts-of-covid-19-0314207

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

https://adaa.org/finding-help/coronavirus-anxiety-helpful-resources