Howard Center’s Response to COVID-19 and Message to our Community

Howard Center is uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. As one of the largest health care organizations in Vermont, serving over 16,000 children, adults, and families each year,  our priorities remain ensuring the health and wellbeing of our clients, staff, providers, and community; continuing our essential services; and reducing the risk of transmission in our Howard Center community and beyond.

Howard Center, including all crisis services, remains available to meet the needs of the community. Many programs are using phone and video telehealth for support and check-ins. Our First Call for Chittenden County crisis line is providing support at (802) 488-7777. Also, the Street Outreach and Community Outreach teams are operating and coordinating with first responders. Howard Center’s Onion River Program and Resource Center are closed and our independent schools are moving to on-line remote learning shortly. Our staff that usually provide one-on-one supports in the community will be suspending face-to-face services but will be working with clients and client’s families to offer tele-support and assist with the provision of groceries and medications. The Chittenden Clinic is taking steps to maintain services while reducing the number of people who visit each day.

Howard Center CEO Bob Bick says, “These are unprecedented times for everyone. The health and safety of our clients, staff, and providers is our top priority, and we are implementing the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Vermont Department of Health, and the University of Vermont Medical Center. Additionally, we are working closely with our local, state, regional, and national partners as we make accommodations to follow best practices in how we serve our community.”

As we continue to take precautionary measures, we will be transitioning our outpatient services and Impaired Driver Rehabilitation programs to telehealth services. Our drop-in assessment clinic will be suspended temporarily and replaced with assessment by telehealth. All clinical groups will be suspended and people will be offered individual therapy via telehealth.  All sites remain open, including our 22 group homes where people continue to receive care and support in their homes. Wherever possible, our employees are working remotely from home or off-site.

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