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RBC | As the residents of Colorado practice social distancing and self-isolation, there is a strong need for direct access to mental health care, as it is imperative to the strength and resiliency of our communities. Alternative mental health therapy that helps ensure those in need of mental health services, who cannot visit their therapist’s office in person, are still able to receive quality care is being offered through Mind Springs Health. This week, the mental healthcare provider is implementing a robust telehealth program for clients who are self-isolating, are quarantined, or are simply anxious about going out in public places.
“Now, more than ever, there is a need for mental health care to be available via video chat or telephone,” said Michelle Hoy, Executive Vice President of Mind Springs Health. “It’s a very stressful time for many of our community members who are experiencing a level of anxiety that they’ve not felt before. We want to ensure that our existing clients have access to their mental health care provider, while also extending services to those who may have never felt the need to reach out for mental health care until now.”
While Mind Springs Health has been providing telehealth services prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the need for extended services became clear before the virus reached Colorado. In the past month, the company began acquiring the necessary equipment, setting protocols and standards to meet HIPPA regulations, and offered training to more mental health care providers within the organization to ensure community needs can be met. Telehealth will be prioritized for the communities in Western Colorado impacted the most by COVID-19, including Eagle, Pitkin, and Summit counties. Telehealth will also be prioritized for Garfield County, due to the number of residents that live in Garfield County, yet work in or travel to Pitkin and Eagle Counties on a regular basis. The program will then be rolled out to the remaining six counties the organization serves on the Western Slope over the next few weeks and as informed by CDC and our state or Federal government. Tho se seeking services through telehealth are encouraged to call their local Mind Springs Health office. A list of offices can be found at MindSpringsHealth.org/treatment-services/locations.
Currently, all 12 of the Mind Springs Health offices remain open during their normal business hours, as does the West Springs Hospital in Grand Junction. An internal incident command team was created in February and sprang into action on the evening of March 5, when the first presumptive positive case in Colorado was announced. The team is actively monitoring COVID-19 on an ongoing basis to ensure the health and safety of clients and staff, while also maintaining business continuity.
At outpatient offices, clients are screened and asked to stay home if they’re displaying COVID-19 symptoms. At the West Springs Hospital, visitation has been restricted to phone visits only. The walk-in clinic also remains open; however, clients are screened for symptoms before entering the facility.
In addition to expanding telehealth, which will allow some clinical employees to work from home, non-clinical employees are being provided with options to work from home as well to help reduce the risk of exposure of the virus to both clients and staff.
“At the end of the day, we understand that what we do saves lives,” said Sharon Raggio, Mind Springs Health president and CEO. “Mental health is an important component of overall health. When someone is experiencing crisis, Mind Springs Health and West Springs Hospital will be there for them, despite difficult situations like COVID-19.”
Looking for coping skills to help with anxiety surrounding COVID-19? Visit www.MindSpringsHealth.org or www.MyStrength.com, using the “payer code” WELLNESSWEB.
Special to the Herald Times