12/20 Update on COVID-19 Response at CarePlus NJ

This has been a tough year for all of us. As we reflect on the months that have passed, we must once again acknowledge the incredible dedication of the CarePlus NJ staff. It has been a concerted effort across programs and services, with innovation in administration and creativity in leadership, to support our staff in providing high quality services in times of high stress.

In alignment with safety guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and the State of New Jersey Department of Health, we continue to adhere to protocols at our facilities. This includes social distancing, mask mandates, routine sanitization, and provision of necessary personal protective equipment. To reduce the spread of the virus, we have also restricted the amount of face-to-face interactions. This service redesign was made possible through telehealth and other technology solutions. We even updated our registration process to a web-based enrollment to allow ease and access to services.

 We are currently partnering with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center to begin surveillance testing for all of our employees, as well as for individuals enrolled in our partial care and residential programs. This is paired with contact tracing and strict return-to-work policies for those who have been exposed or tested positive for COVID-19. Our Human Resources team has worked diligently to implement weekly training calls for staff to address questions regarding our protocols and procedures related to the pandemic, while also providing increased communications via email.

While staff are allowed to work from home if programmatic needs allow, CarePlus NJ requires on-site work hours for at least 20% of the weekly schedule. However, we have a number of programs and 24/7 services that require staff to provide in-home support and/or face-to-face contact. Emergency staff, nursing staff, and community-based staff continue to provide direct care with necessary PPE and all above safety precautions in mind. For this reason, we are joining in the advocacy for parity for our essential workers. We know that behavioral healthcare is healthcare, and so our employees should also be prioritized when it comes time to distribute a vaccine.

We understand the burden that has been put on our staff and our community during these taxing times. We are making every effort to be flexible, compassionate, and supportive as we navigate the challenges and uncertainty associated with COVID-19.