PHA’s Action Plan and Policy on Re-opening of Offices During COVID-19 Pandemic

PHA’s offices will be open for limited use effective Monday, July 6, 2020.  


Therapists and clients should understand that they are not required to resume face-to-face sessions at this time. Remote sessions (Telehealth) will continue to be available to our clients for as long as they desire. It is PHA’s position that, when possible, remote sessions are preferred. 


Before returning to face-to-face sessions, all clients are required review and sign 

PHA’s Informed Consent for In-person Services During COVID-19 Public Health Crisis. 


Monitoring and Managing Symptoms and Risk

  • Employees have undergone training to assure familiarity with COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Therapists will review and discuss symptoms with clients and be sure clients are aware of potential risk not only to self but high-risk others with whom they have contact. 
  • Therapists and clients will review clients’ health profile at the beginning of each session. 
  • PHA will abide the following guidelines, as required by the PA Dept. of Health. We ask you, as our client, to follow these guidelines as well: 
    • If therapists believe they might be ill OR that they may have been exposed to someone who is ill, they will exclude themselves from our office and face-to-face sessions until the picture is clarified, and until cleared by the Pandemic Safety Officer. 
    • If therapists or staff test positive for COVID-19 they will be excluded from our offices and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days after onset of symptoms, or until symptoms are resolved, whichever is longer (if they have symptoms); if they test positive but do not have symptoms, they will be excluded from our offices for 10 days since testing positive. In either case they will need to be cleared by their PCP prior to returning to the office.   
    • If therapists or staff, even if not symptomatic or testing positive themselves, learn that they have had “close contact” with someone testing positive for COVID-19 or showing symptoms of COVID-19, they will be excluded from our offices for at least 14 days, and until cleared by the Pandemic Safety Officer.  (NOTE: the CDC defines “close contact” as being "within 6 feet for a period of 10 minutes"). 
    • If we become aware that anyone who has entered our offices tests positive for COVID-19, the office will be cleaned and any employees who had “close contact" during that time of exposure will be excluded from our office for 14 days. 


Communication

  • Employees who become aware of possible illness or exposure of themselves, our support staff, or our clients will contact and inform our Pandemic Safety Officer immediately. 
  • If we become aware that anyone in our offices — staff or patients — has tested positive for COVID-19,we will, to the best of our ability, make reasonable effort to identify and notify all clients who may have had “close contact” with that person.  TIME FRAME “do our best”


General Precautions

  • Masks will be worn at all times by all people entering or exiting the building, and in any common areas of the building.  In session, if both therapist and participants agree, masks may be removed, so long as a social distance of six feet is maintained. 
  • Employees and therapists and clients are asked to refrain from any form of social contact at all times (no “fist-bumps,” “high-fives,” hugging, etc.). 
  • Therapists and clients should come with their own masks, but extra masks will be made available as a backup. 
  • Social-distancing will to be observed in our offices (maintain personal space of six feet).   
  • Because of social-distancing and the size of our waiting rooms, a maximum of three clinicians will see clients at any point in time.  No more than five people should be in the waiting room at any point in time. Therapists will stagger their schedules to abide by this. 
  • Magazines and books will be removed from our waiting room. 
  • The number of chairs in our waiting rooms will temporarily be reduced to allow for six feet of social distancing. 
  • Only clients will be allowed in the waiting room.  Friends and family members who will not be involved in a session will be asked to remain outside or in their car.  
  • Also, we ask our clients to wait in vehicles until no more than five minutes prior to their appointment time.
  • Because our scheduling, bookkeeping and billing are done conveniently through our patient portal, it is not necessary for our staff to be at the support desk.  To reduce unnecessary risk to our support staff (whom we appreciate dearly), though on site, they will not be available face-to-face at the front desks. 
  • Per state recommendations, we require that all people entering our buildings be symptom-free for 14 days: after returning from traveling out of state OR after being in close proximity with anyone who has traveled out of state within the past 10 days.


Hygiene

  • “High-touch” areas and surfaces (door knobs, desktops, flush handles in bathrooms, counters, etc.) in offices as well as common areas will be cleaned regularly by clinicians and support staff between sessions or when used or touched. 
  • Only sanitized pens will be made available to clients, staff, or clinicians.  After use they will be sanitized immediately or set aside to be sanitized later.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in all public areas as well as clinicians’s offices.
  • Reminders for basic, preventative hygiene will be posted in common areas reminding people to: wash or sanitize their hands regularly after touching public surfaces, or after touching their nose or face, or after coughing/sneezing; to cough into our elbows (not our hands)


Support Staff

Support Staff will: 

  • Not be available in the waiting room for support services but will be available remotely 
  • Refrain from physical contact with clients 
  • Wash hands regularly after touching public surfaces 
  • Monitor availability of cleaning supplies and reorder as needed 
  • Refrain from coming into office if possible exposure or signs of illness 


Dr. Heather Hostler is the identified Pandemic Safety Officer (required by OSHA). Any questions or concerns from employees or clients should be directed to Dr. Hostler.