Date: March 17, 2020
To: Mobile Crisis Response - Designated Service Area Providers
Re: Mobile Crisis Response Services – COVID-19 Guidance
This notice provides updated COVID-19 guidance to Screening, Assessment, and Support Services (SASS) / Mobile Crisis Response-Designated Service Area providers.
HFS encourages providers to use materials available through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as part of their internal education of staff, including:
Effective immediately, HFS will require the Crisis And Referral Entry Service (CARES) line,
1-800-345-9049, to include a symptom checklist for the COVID-19 virus as part of their screening process including asking if the individual or anyone in the individual’s household or immediate surroundings has a cough, fever or shortness of breath.
CARES will also be conducting more in-depth screening to ensure that a mobile response is necessary to stabilize the individual.
When CARES sends a referral to providers for a face-to-face assessment, they will also notify the provider whether or not the individual or other members of their household exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.
If the individual or other members of the household do not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, providers should conduct the face-to-face assessment using reasonable precautions such as maintaining a six-foot distance from others and washing hands often. Prior to beginning the assessment, perform the symptom checklist again with the individual/family.
If the individual requires inpatient psychiatric services, staff will need to coordinate this admission with the hospital to ensure the individual is not put at further risk for COVID-19 in the Emergency Department (ED) areas of the hospital. Telehealth may be utilized by the physician to complete the admission assessment, if necessary, to prevent exposure to COVID-19. HFS will also be working with psychiatric hospitals to address requirements for medical clearance of individuals in crisis to limit services required in the ED prior to inpatient hospitalization.
If the individual or other members of the household do exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, providers should conduct the face-to-face assessment by remaining outside the location of the individual, preferably in the open air, maintaining at least a six (6)-foot distance from others. Do not enter the home or location of the individual. Staff should follow all reasonable precautions required by their agency at all times during the assessment process.
If the individual requires inpatient psychiatric services, staff will need to coordinate this admission with the hospital to ensure that others are not put at risk of exposure to the virus. It is important that the hospital be made aware that the individual or those of their household have symptoms of COVID-19.
If the individual does not require hospitalization, please provide the recommended precautions and guidance for COVID-19 to the individual and family as well as any referrals needed for community behavioral health services.
If the individual is in crisis and is at a location that the staff is not allowed to access, such as a residential facility or emergency department, the staff may, under these circumstances, conduct the screening via telephone or videoconference. Staff should bill for their time completing the telephonic or videoconference screening as Crisis Intervention, on-site.
Questions regarding this notice may be directed to the Bureau of Behavioral Health via telephone at 217-557-1000 or via email at HFS.BBH@illinois.gov.
Interim Medicaid Administrator