Source: North Carolina Health News

Because of the coronavirus, many local businesses are having to shutter their doors. But that list of closures also includes some mental health groups, like Club Nova in Carrboro, which provide services for people with mental illnesses. According to North Carolina Health News, members of clubhouses like Club Nova are at high risk to coronavirus due to other health risks that often accompany their mental illnesses. Though the services provided are necessary, the risk of community spread is too high for them to keep their doors open, according to Club Nova Director Karen Dunn.

Maintaining access to mental health services will preempt the need for more emergency medical services, North Carolina Health News reports. That’s why the staff of Club Nova is moving to a model where they serve their members at home instead of adding to the use of public transit. 

But changing the way they approach their jobs also adjusts the way funding for their work is provided. State health officials responded with needed flexibility, giving providers the ability to bill for “nontraditional services” including telehealth, according to North Carolina Health News.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services contacted local mental health management groups and outlined new policy guidance. The changes allow the entities to continue serving an at-risk community even amidst the coronavirus outbreak, and gives them flexibility in how to use their funding. The state also opened $30 million in funding to support mental health groups, according to North Carolina Health News.

Read more about how North Carolina is keeping mental health providers open during the pandemic from North Carolina Health News.