From the Director: Pandemic positives
By: Tiffany M. Booher, MA, LPC, CAADC, CIP, CCSM
When I wrote my first director message in the spring of 2020, titled, “Embracing Change,” I did not know that we were about to experience the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and life would drastically change for all of us on so many levels. Our staff transitioned to working remotely effective March 17, 2020, and tirelessly trained on all the new technology we implemented expeditiously – a digital fax with a new fax number, DocuSign, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Mitel Connect, and have evolved to all electronic documents including participant files.
Although monitoring requirements have been steadfast, the way those requirements are delivered is very different. Most participants are attending therapy and support group meetings (AA, NA, Caduceus, etc.) virtually. Some evaluations and treatment are conducted via virtual platforms. Drug testing is now available in home via oral fluid specimen for participants who are high risk or are caring for someone who is high risk. At the drug testing labs, many participants wait in their cars for a text message when it is their turn to enter and provide a specimen. Some participants have opted to utilize a Soberlink breathalyzer to minimize the number of times they must go to the lab to drug test. The PHP staff is working to help make adjustments where possible in order to best support participants during this time.
The PHP has heard some very positive outcomes of this new way of operating. Therapy providers are indicating that attendance is up, and participants are enjoying the convenience of the virtual platform, allowing them the freedom to attend their therapy wherever they are. Support group meeting attendance is also improving, and participants are informing us that the ease of using virtual platforms has made meeting attendance easier to accomplish with their busy schedules. Participants utilizing Soberlink and in-home oral fluid testing have expressed a great appreciation for knowing they do not have to go to a lab risking exposure to COVID. I believe virtual platforms are here to stay and are revolutionizing the way monitoring requirements are delivered to participants.
In closing, I want to thank our health care professionals who continue to fight this pandemic on the frontlines. We see you and are here to support you! Thank you for all that you do!