Board Update During Pandemic
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Deerwood Family Services closed both offices and moved to an on-line telehealth site to provide alll services virtually, There were no major motions approved during the pandemic. We provided crisis intervention services to as many callers and new clients as we possibly could and apologize to those we were unable to schedule.
We obtained consultation from two county health departments, and from the state health department, regading the safety of reopening in office settings that utilize fabric furniture and carpeting, both of which cannot be fully sanitized between clients. We were encouraged to continue to limit our service provision to the telehealth platform until the emergency declaration is lifted. When we do reopen for on-site services, we will continue the telehealth option because so many of our clients discovered that they like to meet virtually, on-line, through the HIPAA-compliant, secure and confidential, telehealth platform.
Because the emergency declaration might occur within the next few months, we are in the process of scheduling our next in-person Board meeting during the month of July. Draft minutes from that meeting will be posted here as soon as they are available.
December 2019 Board Meeting Notes
2019 was a busy year, one that involved a significant increase in the number of individuals and families receiving direct services at both of our Pennsylvania offices and virtually through our on-line tele-health program. A more detailed report was provided to the Board at an end-of-year meeting held on December 28th. Our final budget for the 2019 year will be available for review in May, after the accountant submits our state and federal tax returns.
Our Board held its annual meeting on December 28th using a conference call format. A majority of Board Members participated therefore we had a quorum. Five items were presented for discussion and decision-making regarding goals for 2020:
Should Deerwood Family Services participate in the development of the recommended Children’s Arts Center, using a portion of space at the California building; and, if so, should a virtual component be included? (Work in the Arts Center will be video-recorded with parent approval)?
Unanimous Consent Should Deerwood Family Services rent out space to additional clinical providers; and, if so, what would the cost be?
Unanimous Consent to Explore Further.
Should Deerwood Family Services become credentialed as a group practice for the purpose of providing clinical services through Medicare?
Unanimous Agreement for Not Yet
Should Deerwood Family Services accept non-clinical intern or practicum student if requested to do so by one of the local colleges or universities?
Should Deerwood Family Services offer a parenting group for families affected by autism if asked to do so.
Our next Board meeting will take place at the end of December, 2020 unless new agenda items are introduced by Board members, staff, or those we contract with. No one owns a non-profit, it belongs to the public. If you want us to consider calling a meeting of the Board for something that you think is needed to strengthen families, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Covid-19 Pandemic Changes
Both of our face-to-face meeting sites were shut down on March 9th be cause of the recommended communal social distancing policy. They will remain closed until further notice. All services are now provided virtually.
Clients who were being seen in-office were offered the opportunity to be transferred to a different provider or to a health care clinic if they didn't want to use our tele-health platform for virtual therapy. The tele-health platform is secure and confidential, in full compliance with the HIPAA guidelines at that time.
Since then, HIPAA guidelines have become less stringent; however, we will continue to maintain the highest standards if confidentiality to protect our client's personal health information. The Children's Arts' Center area of this website, along with the Your Place component of the Blogs and Creative Arts website section, is not part of the therapeutic process, therefore names may be published for those who donate content that is approved as consistent with our Mission and acceptable for posting...if they give permission for their names to be included with their contribution.
On-site offices will not be reopened immediately after public health officials and our government gives the all-clear signal. Office space will need to be deep-cleaned and sanitized if this shut-down lasts as long as we anticipate the virus may be present in our community.
Virtual services are not the same as face-to-face, but they do offer clients access and conveniences that we can't always provide in an office setting. Some of our providers might also want to limit their work to virtual in the future. This pandemic has forced everyone to make transitions and adjustments that will need to be reevaluated after we emerge from it.
In addition to providing family services, mental and behavioral health services, and a special place for people to share their creative arts, our network of providers includes some with advanced health and public health degrees. We are busy at work using this knowledge for data mining so that research can be conducted, research that will contribute to the knowledge-base and understanding of best practices in caring for the children, youth, and families in this country. We hope to publish some of this as it becomes available.
For example, one of our providers searched a data-base of more than 21,000 recently-published articles about this new corona virus. These articles demonstrate the tremendous international collaboration of scientists working to find a cure, a vaccine, effective treatments for symptoms, and/or naturally-occurring, non-toxic, herbal products that can help us all find our way back to some semblance of normalcy.
One of the most exciting reach articles we found, one that is on-route to a Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis, described how a group of researchers used the molecular structure of this new virus to identify nine botanical plants that have the potential of weakening it. We don't know what the pharmaceutical analysts will do with this knowledge, but in the meantime, it can't do us any harm to use two of these plant-based foods because most of us already do so. We don't have permission to post the article here, but you can read the second stanza of our Covid-19 limerick in the Your Place area of our website for a hint.