ANNOUNCEMENTS

30/03/2020 - COVID-19 Update

To our current and future clients,

We are continuing to adapt our services so that we may keep supporting you as much as possible during this time. This update follows from our announcement last week (25/03/2020) regarding our response to COVID-19 (see here for full information: www.warehouseone7.com/announcements).

Medicare clients

As of today (30/03/2020) telehealth services have been made available to all Australians who have an active GP referral (Mental Health Treatment Plan). This refers to your regular psychology sessions being conducted via either videoconferencing or telephone. You will continue to receive your regular 10 sessions per calendar year, and ALL Medicare telehealth services will be bulk-billed (no out of pocket cost for you). Please contact your GP if you require a re-referral, which can be obtained via a telehealth session.

To ensure the safety of all clients and staff we are beginning to immediately transition all Medicare clients to telehealth services. If you have a future appointment booked, our staff will be in contact with you soon regarding this transition. We will be emailing out ‘welcome packs’ to clients to assist with this transition process.

NDIS; self-funded clients; provisional psychologist clients

We have already started to transition our NDIS, self-funded, and provisional psychologist clients to telehealth. If you have a future appointment booked, please wait for our staff to contact you with more information.

Private health insurance clients

We have not yet received confirmation from private health insurers regarding the ability to claim rebates under telehealth. For all relevant clients, we encourage you to call your private health insurers to explore this further. If you have a future appointment booked our staff will be contacting you to discuss this further.

New clients

If you are a new client and are currently on our waiting list, we will be in touch with you over the coming days to discuss your transition to the telehealth platform.

 

We hope all our clients and their families are staying safe during this time. We thank you for your patience as we work through this transition to telehealth together.


Kind regards,

Warehouse One7 Team

COVID-19 Update

25/03/2020


To our valued clients,


Our team hope you and your family are staying safe in these difficult times. As we face changing circumstances in our
day-to-day life due to COVID-19, we would like to update you on the steps that we are taking to prioritise the health
and safety of you and your families, as well as our staff. We are aware that the current environment may exacerbate
mental health challenges, and we want to ensure that we are able to continue to provide services and support
wherever possible. This announcement will include general updates regarding our response to the COVID-19 crisis, as
well as information on how this may impact your engagement with our service.

 

General update
As of today, our service continues to be operational to conduct face-to-face sessions at our Shellharbour location. We
will update you via email or text if this changes. We are implementing increased cleaning and hygiene protocols
including; washing/disinfecting hands before and after all client contact, disinfecting surfaces/toys/materials before
and after every client contact, and creating a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between staff and clients whenever
possible. Clinicians are taking higher precautions with illness and will not be at work with two or more of the following
symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, runny nose, muscle pain or
diarrhoea.


We ask that if you are having any of the symptoms outlined above, have recently returned from overseas, or have had
exposure to COVID-19, please cancel your appointment, seek medical advice and self-isolate as required. Our general
cancellation policy will be relaxed given the current circumstances. You will not be charged for cancelling with less than 24 hours’ notice for a face-to-face session if the circumstances above are noted. Our non-attendance policy (i.e. charge of the full scheduled session fee) will continue to remain in place.

 

Over the coming days and week, it is increasingly likely that for the wellbeing of our clients, their families and our staff
we will begin to transition to a telehealth model. Telehealth sessions are regular psychology appointments with your
clinician that are provided via videoconferencing or a phone call.

 

We are currently working on information packs, new consent documents and policies surrounding telehealth
engagement and will distribute these as soon as possible. If you can transition to telehealth services (based on the
information provided below) we will start discussing this with you from next week (or earlier if required). We are aware this may be a difficult transition; however, our clinicians, administration and management are available to assist you, and are dedicated to continue to support you and your family across this difficult period.

 

Medicare clients
If you are using a mental health treatment plan (GP referral), Medicare has approved telehealth services for clients or
clinicians who are vulnerable and/or isolated because of COVID-19. These sessions will all be bulk billed and there will
be no out of pocket cost to you.


This is defined in situations where at least one of the following applies for clients and/or clinicians:

(a) the person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus but is not a patient of a hospital; or –
(b) the person has been required to isolate themselves in quarantine in accordance with home isolation guidance issued by Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC); or –
(c) the person is considered more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus being a person who is:

▪ (i) at least 70 years old; or
▪ (ii) at least 50 years old and is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent; or
▪ (iii) is pregnant; or
▪ (iv) is a parent of a child under 12 months; or
▪ (v) is already under treatment for chronic health conditions or is immune compromised; or –

(d) the person meets the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection.

 

If you meet the above criteria, please call our administration team or email your clinician directly to discuss accessing telehealth services. Otherwise, please attend your scheduled appointments if possible.
Medicare are reviewing the above guidelines regularly, and it has been suggested that by as early as next Monday (30/3/2020) all clients will be able to access Medicare sessions via telehealth. We will contact you with a further announcement when/if this occurs.


Health insurance clients
Health insurance providers have noted that they are reviewing their policies regularly regarding the use of telehealth. We recommend calling your health insurance to see if you can access your regular rebates for telehealth sessions. At this stage, health insurance clients will be asked to pay in full and receipts will be provided for you to discuss further with your health insurance providers. The receipts will indicate whether the service has been conducted face-to-face or via telehealth. Our fees will remain the same.

Please notify us if your health insurance is rebating for telehealth sessions. If this is the case, we will begin to transition you to telehealth from next week (30/3/2020).


National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) clients
As of 21/3/2020 the Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert, announced new measures to ensure support to clients and providers during the COVID-19 crisis. It is recommended that all NDIS support be moved to telehealth services where appropriate. Consequently, we will begin to transition our NDIS clients to telehealth from next week (30/3/2020). We will be in touch with you if this impacts your next appointment, otherwise please attend your appointment as usual if you are able to.


In addition to this, NDIS are providing financial assistance to providers including a 10% loading on current services and more generous cancellation policies. Therefore, the regular NDIS session fee will increase to $168.25 for the foreseeable future, and if you cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice, or do not attend an appointment the full fee of $168.25 will be charged.


Clients who are paying privately (including those paying $40.00 to see provisional psychologists)
Due to the flexibility of service delivery for private clients, we will begin to discuss the transition to telehealth services with you from next week (30/3/2020). If you do not receive further contact from your clinician or our administration staff prior to your next appointment, please attend your session as usual if you are able to do so. Your current fees will remain the same for telehealth services.


Payment for services via telehealth
If you are required to pay out of pocket for your sessions that are conducted via telehealth please phone our administration on (02) 42448118 to pay over the phone as soon as possible following your session. Your clinician may also process this payment with you at the end of your appointment. If we cannot get in contact with you to pay over the phone, future sessions will be cancelled, and we will issue you an invoice for payment.
In summary, for the safety of our clients and staff we are looking to transition all services to telehealth where possible. We will be sending out information on how to access telehealth on your computer/phone/tablet device over the coming days. If you would like further information or have any questions please contact us on (02) 4244 8118, or triage@familyservices.org.au. Our reception staff are available between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday. We will update you with any changes as they come to hand. We look forward to continuing to support you and your families during this time. Thank you for your understanding.


Sincerely,
Warehouse One7 team

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

17/03/2020

FSA ‘Precaution Stage’ Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our current operating environments in all locations is currently declared as safe for children, young people and families and not in a state of alarm or emergency.

Family Services Australia (FSA’s) organisational values centre on the wellbeing of our staff, clients, families and all communities we support throughout NSW and QLD.  Our values of Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Empowerment  (CARE) with Integrity ensure that we are operating in a safe environment when considering Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We are ensuring all staff, clients, stakeholders and community are kept SAFE-WELL-STRONG and CONNECTED at all times, including through after-hours at-call.  FSA Practice Leaders of FSA’s six service streams are available for further information, advice and support if needed on 1800 FSA 000 (1800 372 000).

All FSA staff, practice leaders and staff are continuing to take detailed hygiene precautions with all community, group work and consult activities, with our response Central Triage Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework tracking progress of alerts, information and community intelligence gathered from our Occasions of Service (OoS) that remain active and in place to support our community clients.

FSA are monitoring local Primary Health Network (PHN) and NSW Health Alerts, available on a daily update and we encourage all members of the community to stay informed of these updates.  For Daily Updates: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

FSA Policy is following the Close Contact; Isolation; and Symptom Development Strategies outlined below.

At this stage there have been no COVID-19 infections in contact with any FSA staff member, representative, community member or client.  Should this position change, with even one confirmed case of infection in direct or indirect contact, FSA will immediately update all external communications and commence its pre-established Quarantine Action Plan (QAP) of all persons involved (on a case by case basis).

We look forward to ensuring your safety and wellbeing in taking good care of one another in our community.

Sincerely,

 

Gary Jackson
Managing Director &
Company Secretary
Family Services Australia

Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a type of virus that can affect humans and animals. Some coronaviruses cause illness similar to the common cold while other coronaviruses cause more serious illness, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan City in China in December 2019. Cases have now been confirmed in multiple countries around the world.  While there is still much to be learned about infection with COVID-19, it appears that the illness is much less severe than SARS or MERS, and some people with the infection may have only a mild illness.

Close contact

A close contact is someone who has been face to face for at least 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, as someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 when that person was infectious.

Isolate yourself at home and monitor your health closely

If you have been identified to have had close contact with someone who is confirmed to have infection with COVID-19 while they were infectious, you must:

  • Isolate yourself at home until 14 days after you were last exposed to the infectious person. You should not leave the house, except for seeking medical care. You should stay in a different room to other people as much as possible, and wear a surgical mask when you are in the same room as another person and when seeking medical care. Use a separate bathroom if available. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transportation, taxi services or rideshares.

  • watch for signs and symptoms:

  • fever

  • cough

  • shortness of breath

  • other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache and runny nose, muscle pain or diarrhoea
     

If you develop symptoms

  • If you are seriously unwell and it is an emergency, call 000 immediately.

  • Continue to keep yourself apart from other people as much as possible (eg in a different room).

  • Wear a surgical mask if you have one.

  • Call your local public health unit on 1300 066 055, they will assess you and advise on what to do next.

  • If you can’t contact the public health unit, see a doctor, preferably at a hospital emergency department, as soon as possible.

  • Phone the emergency department before attending so they can make arrangements for when you arrive to prevent spread of infection to others.

  • Do not travel on public transport, use taxis or ride-shares​ and do not attend any public places.