A letter to my patients regarding Coronavirus changes
25 March 2020
As a clinician, I am concerned about your overall health and safety and for your loved ones too. To that end, my plan is to continue to see patients as long as you are healthy and feel comfortable coming into the office. Know that we continue usual precautions in the office (hand sanitizer and wiping down surfaces); you are welcome to wait in your car or outside the waiting room until the time of your appointment if you feel more comfortable.
Another option for us is telehealth, which is available through the same HIPAA-compliant company that I use for my electronic records and communication.
The upside would be the convenience for you to continue with therapy even though you may be at home. The downside is the potential for challenges with the technology. Some people will feel more comfortable with the technology, while for others it may be too distracting or difficult.
Now while telehealth is available, the question of billing is less clear. At this point, we are hearing that many insurance companies and Medicare are loosening restrictions and will cover telehealth appointments. While I want to trust that, until we see that they are paying, I remain leery. Your relationship with your insurance company is your responsibility. While I am willing to use the technology, be aware that there may be a bill attached to that neither of us expected.
If you choose to convert your appointment to telehealth, please let me know ahead of time so that I can take those steps in the system and you have time to sign the consent form.
If you choose to cancel your appointment, kindly give me 24 hours notice so that I can either fill that time or know not to come into the office.
And most of all, take care of yourself and those around you. In the end, we must remember that we are all in this together.
Jason Hobbs, LCSW, M.Div
This letter has had revisions since originally published on 3.16.2020.