First and foremost, we’re asking everyone who comes to ABC's for any purpose to be good stewards of our mission and do not visit office if you have any of the above symptoms. Meetings and conferences may likely be canceled, but other visitors are asked to be judicious in deciding to visit or attend meetings at ABC's.
So what does that mean for our guests?
In the wake of growing nationwide concern over the Coronavirus outbreak, we wanted to take a moment to address some of those concerns as they pertain to ABC's for Success.
We find ourselves in a unique position: We’re a medical facility that see's a lot of individuals, from the community, and their families.
Because of growing concerns over the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19):
We are limiting the amount of individuals and families being seen at ABC's for Success to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
“We need everyone to understand what we’re doing to keep the community safe and continue doing what we need to do to serve people,” says ABC's for Success CEO Soraya Melegi. “People are suffering from mental illness, and we need to get them help and treatment, but at the same time, we have to protect our community. For the time being, we will reevaluate the situation every Monday and make adjustments to our plans based on the information we have on hand. Our goal is to continue to meet our standards of patient care by providing therapy while doing the next right thing to keep our patients safe and community safe.”
Needless to say, the complexities of maintaining our open door policy while protecting the health, safety and privacy of our patients are immense. Our patients, of course, are our priority: They are the reason for our existence, and while the Coronavirus is certainly a concerning illness, mental illness is very important and can not/ should not be left untreated. Keeping our doors open and our operation running smoothly and safely are paramount so that we can continue to offer a new way to live for those who are suffering from mental illness.
We have placed posters about the Coronavirus — means of infection, methods of prevention, signs and symptoms — around the office to educate our staff and our patient population. We have hand sanitizer stations in different locations throughou the office, and we’re discouraging personal contact — handshakes, hugs, etc. — between one another. We’re emphasizing recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) regarding hand washing. And should any patient exhibit any symptoms — or Coronavirus or any communicable illness such as influenza, which we deal with every year — our medical and housekeeping staff take extra precautions, such as:
In essence, we follow Standard Precautions as laid out by the CDC, which “are the minimum infection prevention practices that apply to all patient care, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status of the patient, in any setting where health care is delivered.” These practices include, among others:
Coronavirus and the ABC's community: What you need to know
Our precautions begin before they even arrive. We’re not admitting anyone who shows signs of the virus or who may be at risk for infection from admitting at this time. These include:
So what are we doing to keep our patients safe?
Individuals in mental health therapy — that one of the hallmarks of our therapy is that we become responsible, productive members of society. Part of that responsibility involves not exposing others, particularly individuals whose health is compromised, to any illnesses that might be of particular concern.
We will be asking all visitors to sign in at, acknowledging that they do not show signs or symptoms of Coronavirus or any communicable illness. Even when our family programs are resumed, we will screen family members who plan to attend and actively turn away anyone who reports symptoms similar to those of COVID-19.
This is a policy we anticipate keeping in place for the remainder of this crisis, and we want to thank you all for your patience and your understanding. Obviously, there’s a great deal of media scrutiny about COVID-19, and much of the concern stems from the fact that so little is still known about it. While we don’t wish to contribute to any sort of panic, neither do we wish to dismiss it as hysteria. As a result, we’re asking you to help us in protecting our most vulnerable population: the individuals who come to us for mental health treatment.
We want to encourage an open and honest dialogue about this developing situation, and we understand that you may have additional concerns. Please feel free to reach out directly to us, should you need to clarify any information or ask questions. We will continue to monitor this situation on a weekly, and in some cases daily, basis, and we will adjust our decisions based on the developing severity or solution to this illness.
Again, we are grateful for your support and your understanding, and we will continue to keep you updated as we know more and further refine our mission to provide much-needed treatment for addiction and alcoholism, which remains a very serious health crisis.
“Our thought is, the Coronavirus is very contagious, but to us, mental health is a vital part of our health that needs to be treated so that there is no decompensation and need for more intensive treatment such as hospitalization,” CFO Alex Diaz. “That is more of a posability for our clients rather than getting the Coronavirus. If they pass our pre-screening requirements, they may continue to recieve treatment.”
We have also taken steps to re-educate all ABC's for Success staff members on the use of personal protection equipment to prevent the spread of any communicable illness, and we’re working with the companies that provide contract labor to ensure that they don’t send any employees who exhibit signs of illness to carry out work on our office.
In addition, we are looking at measures to restrict all non-essential travel by company employees, as well as taking a thorough look on a case-by-case basis at the Therapeutic Leave and Therapeutic Absence requests by patients in our Outpatient programs. Obviously, the last thing we want is to prevent our patients from having access to mental health treatment, but in the event their travel might be to areas experiencing a high rate of infection, we have to act out of an abundance of precaution to protect the patient population to which they would return.
However: We remain dedicated to our primary purpose, which is to provide unparalleled treatment for mental health. Locally, we are assuring prospective patients to both ABC's for Success that our increased efforts at prevention and sanitation will mean that the only concern they should have while in our care is the betterment of their mental health.