This note comes on the heels of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As important updates become available, we will be communicating with GBC aba families, staff, and communities to ensure safety and provide structure, as much as possible, during this difficult situation.
Now more than ever, we are thinking of ways to ensure your child is cared for with the tools and resources available.
Below you’ll find our latest update on steps we are taking to reduce the spread of infection and organize your child’s routine to incorporate recommendations and guidance from local and federal health officials like the Centers for Disease Control.
Again, our priorities are:
1. your child’s safety
2. your child’s structure
3. your child’s care
Our collaboration and interaction with GBC children and their families is critical in the success in the weeks and months to come. Please take time to thoroughly review the below to ensure you are educated …
COVID-19 Update: March 24
"Shelter in Place" Announced by Governor Pritzker
As you may be aware, J.B. Pritzker announced a “shelter in place” for the state of IL which starts tomorrow evening through April 7th. This means that all non-essential businesses will be closed. There isn’t a need to panic - he confirmed that the interstate highways, gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, and essential businesses like healthcare and restaurants will remain open.
And, since we are a healthcare business and our staff are essential healthcare workers, we will still be working with our families with the precautionary measures we’ve put in place.
This is a good thing for us! JB Pritzker said it himself – the main reason the government enforced a Shelter in Place is to make it safer for individuals who perform essential jobs, like us, to continue going to work! Without as many people out and about, it will actually make it safer for us to work with your family.
Remember to continue monitoring your child’s, your family’s, and your staff’s health and follow GBC’s other precautionary measures, and we’ll all get through this together!
Mitigate COVID-19 Exposure
- We are working to temporarily reduce the number of staff on each team so we can limit the amount of people working with your child and the other families we serve. To the best of our ability, our goal here is to have each staff only working with only one client during this time. Many of our staff are graciously willing to rearrange their schedules and work during times they normally do not in order to create a safe space for everyone.
- Scheduling will be reaching out over the next several days if this change is impacting your team.
Personal Protection Equipment & Procedures
- More research is coming out on the effectiveness of gloves and masks preventing the COVID-19 germs from spreading. They are finding that gloves don’t actually do very much to protect the spreading of germs.
- Hand washing and avoiding touching your face is the single most effective way of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Our staff and your child must wash hands for at least 20second (per CDC)
· At the beginning of the appointment,
· every 30 minutes,
· at the end of the appointment.
- What a great time to work on some chaining procedures for teaching washing hands!
- All our employees are given masks to wear and gloves to wear gloves if they’d like, but proper and frequent hand washing is more critical.
Pre-Appointment Screening Questions
- Before each appointment, our staff will be asking you the following screening questions. Please also ask these questions to our staff!
· Have you traveled? If yes, where?
· Have you been around anyone with COVID symptoms?
· Do you have a fever, sore throat, or cough?
· Have you or anyone in your household been tested for COVID-19? If so, what were the results?
If anyone answers “yes” to any of these questions, then the appointment would be canceled. Follow normal procedures for canceling the appointment.
New Hire Shadow Appointments Cancelled
- To avoid having extra people around during client appointments, we’ve put all new hire shadows on hold. We really want to make sure that only the required essential people are with our clients and staff! You won’t have any shadows during your appointments until further notice.
Sanitizing During In-Home Appointments
- As a reminder, we will be sanitizing surfaces and toys during in-home appointments. Please put out cleaning supplies for our staff to use so they can sanitize throughout the appointment.
We are also very excited to announce that we received confirmation that telehealth (online therapy via your computer or phone) is temporarily being approved for ABA services by some insurance plans! Why is this a good thing? This provides us with options for remote support if we can’t continue to work with your child face-to-face so your child can continue to make progress!
But we need your help! We are working very hard to remain open during this time because we know your child needs services, especially now that schools are closed and other resources are not available. We are asking that all families call your insurance and verify that telehealth will be covered under your plan for ABA benefits at this time. We know that time is precious, and we wish that we could make these calls for you. But because you are the customer of the insurance company, insurance companies are more likely to listen to you and one call from you carries much more weight than several calls from us.
To reiterate, if we are ordered to close or to stay home, telehealth will be the only option for services to continue until this is all over. We desperately need every parent to make this call as soon as you can so we can be prepared to switch to telehealth if needed.
Please read the information below to see what we are asking of our families to help us prepare for telehealth options.
1. Please call your insurance provider and ask if telehealth is covered for ABA under your current benefit plan.
2. If the representative tells you that telehealth is not covered (because usually, it would not be covered), ask to speak to. someone who can authorize an exception based on the fact that:
- Your child’s services have been confirmed by your insurance company to be medically necessary, and since the CDC is advising social distancing, your child will need to receive those services from home via “synchronous video conferencing”(i.e., insurance’s term for a live video call).
- Your provider is ready to provide telehealth services with a HIPAA compliant platform (to continue protecting your privacy)
- Your child will likely regress if services can’t be provided during this time, and that means they’ll need more services when this is over if they don’t approve this now.
- We will bill with the same codes we would typically bill with (i.e., for United/Humana plans: H0031, H0032, H2012, H2019; for all other plans - 97151,97152, 97153, 97155, 97156) for most plans. You have to specify that a "GT modifier" would be attached to that billing code and a "02 place of service code" will be used. The representative should know what this means, but these are the details on the claim that indicate that your child received the services from home via “synchronous videoconferencing” (or live video call).
3. During this call, please write down the following information:
- Name of the person you spoke with
- Date and time of the call
- Reference number for the call (ask them for onewhen you’re finished talking with them)
- The details of their response
4. Please email that information to firstname.lastname@example.org
. If covered, we will be contacting you to confirm the plan for. providing telehealth support.
In the meantime, we continue to remain open so we can serve our families. We are proud to say that our staff is doing a wonderful job with following our precautionary guidelines and keeping our clients separated in our clinics. Thank you so much for being a part of our GBC family. We value your support and are grateful that we’re rallying through this together with you!Continue to stay safe out there and feel free to reach out to our office if you have any questions!
Stephanie A. Gorbold, M.A., BCBA
President and Founder