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Austen Riggs Center Admissions with Quarantine and COVID-19 Testing

To protect the health and safety of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, new patients will be admitted through a newly (September 2020) shortened quarantine phase in which:  

  • Patients will begin their treatment at Riggs using remote access to individual and group treatment, and community offerings while living in quarantine on the Riggs campus. Patients will join the full residential program only after verified completion of the quarantine.  

To Speak With Our Admissions Team

Call the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA to find out if we can help with you or a loved one's psychiatric treatment.     Contact the Austen Riggs Center, a top psychiatric hospital in Stockbridge, MA.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it safe to come to Riggs?  

To date, we have had no COVID-19 cases among our patients. See  our  COVID-19 webpage  for more information on our response to the outbreak.  

How are you screening new patients  for COVID-19?  

In addition to usual medical information gathered during the preadmission process, new patients will be screened at intervals by Riggs staff, before and after they travel to the Center, including inquiry about the following:   

  • Travel within the previous 14 days   

  • Symptoms including: ​ 
    • PRIMARY: New onset cough, fever (>100 degrees), or shortness of breath. 
    • ​​SECONDARY: Muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new onset loss of taste/smell.     
  • ​Exposure to confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19   

What  happens if  I don’t  pass the screening?   

If a prospective patient’s temperature is 100 or above and/or there are symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection, consultation is rescheduled for when they have recovered.   

How long will it take to be admitted?   

Riggs admits 1 to 3 patients each week. We recommend calling as soon as possible to begin the admissions process. Once assessed, appropriate patients are put on a waiting list for a consultation for admission. The total time from contact with Riggs to admission varies based on how quickly required information is provided to us, and the number of openings we have.     

Are you conducting in-person campus tours for prospective patients and their families?  

We are not presently conducting tours in person, but virtual tours are available to prospective patients and family involved in the day of their consultation.  

What does  the admission consultation  involve?  

The decision about whether to offer admission to Riggs is always made at an admissions consultation. Admissions consultations take place in the historic Corner House building, located on Main Street, approximately one block from the main campus. Riggs staff will screen patients, including checking for fever, prior to the consultation. Family may accompany the patient to the Corner House for the consultation, but will not be permitted on the main campus.  

How long is the Riggs quarantine? 

Newly admitted patients from anywhere in the country enter quarantine and undergo a single COVID-19 test, at least 72 hours after admission. They can leave quarantine when the test returns negative for the virus that causes COVID-19 but not sooner than five days after admission.  Given the constantly changing nature of the pandemic and state rules, we recommend you contact the Admissions office at 800.517.4447 to discuss your individual situation.  

What happens during quarantine?  

Upon admission, patients will stay in separate quarters at the Inn, our primary on-campus residence. Nursing staff will provide medical and temperature tests daily. COVID-19 testing will be performed once at least 72 hours after admission.    

We have designed this period of time to include as many of our traditional treatment program offerings and services as possible, while maintaining the quarantine protocols. The majority of the work during this period will be conducted via Zoom video, though there will be limited in-person engagement with medical and nursing staff.   

What happens after the quarantine period?  

Upon verification from the Riggs Infection Control Physician that new patients have completed quarantine successfully and that they do not have COVID-19, they will be fully integrated into the Riggs treatment milieu. Patients will continue working with their treatment team and participate in full residential programming of the Inn Residential Program-Nursing (IRP-Ne) level of care. In addition, each patient will be assessed by their program manager to determine the most appropriate level of care post-quarantine, with possible step down to the version of the Inn Residential Program that emphasizes work in groups (IRP-Ge), if appropriate.    

Is the cost for  Riggs quarantine  different from  Riggs’  usual  fees?  

Treatment rate for quarantine care is the same as for our other admission programs, which is $1,500 per day, all inclusive. The standard prepayment is due on the day of admission.  

Insurance coverage varies depending on the patient’s carrier and policy. Our specialist will work with admitted patients and families to do pre-certification and determine what level of support might be available.  

​What if I get sick after I arrive?  

Riggs has established a protocol for all patients (both current and newly admitted) who develop COVID-19. Such patients will enter isolation at Riggs and be treated by our nursing staff and consultant in internal medicine.    

If necessary, our consultant in internal medicine could arrange transfer to a medical hospital for additional treatment.   

What happens if  a staff member  has  COVID-19?  

Riggs has enacted policies aimed at the early detection of symptoms among our staff. Any personnel reporting COVID-like symptoms are placed in quarantine, which removes them from interaction with patients and other Riggs staff until their status is resolved as safe to return to work.  

Admission

  • Patients on the waitlist, who are judged to be candidates for Riggs treatment that includes an initial period of quarantine, with its associated limits in access to direct contact with treaters, are offered consultation with possible admission to the 6-week treatment and evaluation phase starting with a period of quarantine in IRP-N level of care (per usual waitlist protocol, barring any issues regarding travel restrictions).
  • Patients are screened by an Admissions staff person at offer of consultation and as close as possible to time of travel for:  
    • All travel within the past 14 days  
    • Symptoms including: 
      • PRIMARY: New onset cough, fever (>100 degrees), or shortness of breath. 
      • SECONDARY: Muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new onset loss of taste/smell.
    • Exposure to confirmed or suspected cases of individuals with COVID-19.  
    • Affirmation of any of the above will require assessment of the situation by the Infection Control Physician to proceed.  
  • Patients are oriented to the expectations of quarantine, and integration into the full residential community after quarantine and one negative COVID-19 test result (test is administered at least 72 hours after admission. 
  • Patients are formally offered admission only after an admission consultation: 
    • Patient is screened again and their temperature is taken prior to the start of the consultation upon arrival to 48 Main Street Corner House by the on-site Admissions staff person (temperature must be 99.9 degrees F or lower). If the temperature is 100 or above and or there are symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 infection, consultation is rescheduled for when the patient has recovered. 
    • Patient will participate in the consultation from the 48 Main Street Corner House building (first floor access only, separate entrance from staff, separate bathroom facilities), facilitated by an on-site Admissions staff person. 
    • Family may accompany patient to the Corner House for the consultation, but will not be permitted on the main campus. 
    • If offered admission, patient will complete paperwork digitally via the patient portal, have a box lunch provided by the ARC kitchen at Corner House, and participate in a lunch Zoom session with a patient sponsor. 
    • Following lunch, patient will meet with business office staff via Zoom from the Corner House; paperwork to be provided via patient/family portal and any physical payment to be collected by onsite Admissions staff person. 
    • Patient will be given a schedule and transitioned to their quarantine residence. On-site Admissions staff person will facilitate the move. 
  • Patients may be admitted at rates of 1 to 3 patients/week depending on adequate quarantine room space availability at the Inn and staffing capacity. 
  • ​The standard prepayment is due on the day of admission, and IRP-Ne daily rates apply. 

After Admission 

  • Patient enters quarantine at the Inn – room accommodations to include a designated bathroom to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Patient to be tested for COVID-19 once within the first week of admission (for more details, refer to Admission Quarantine during COVID-19 pandemic procedure). 
  • Patient meets via Zoom with therapist 4 times a week. Patient also meets via zoom with psychiatrist, social worker, substance use counselor, and a range of other providers as part of the initial treatment and evaluation phase.  
  • Medical health assessed by telemedicine – Medical history and current health status assessment to be gathered utilizing remote access via Zoom; physical assessment and labs to occur post release from quarantine. 
  • Medications prescribed by Riggs psychiatrist and distributed by nursing staff as meets the individual patient's needs. 
  • Patient has access to twice daily check-ins with their assigned team NCC, covering team nurse, and/or with the Community Nurse as permitted by staff schedules. 
  • Patient has access to a daily group for newly admitted patients in quarantine led by Therapeutic Community Program (TCP) or nursing staff, as well as open membership offerings of the TCP that are accessible via Zoom. 
  • Patient meets via Zoom with staff representing various departments/services for orientation including the TCP, Substance Use services, Nutrition services, Fitness/Wellness services, and Activities Department, and with the treatment team.  
  • Patient has access to virtual wellness options, including meditation. 
  • Patient will have scheduled time to go outside.  
  • Emergency services are provided remotely by the TCP and nursing staff, backed up by first and second doctors on call. 
  • Failure to remain in quarantine and/or follow established guidelines for safety are grounds for administrative discharge. 
  • Remote psychological testing begins (if scheduling permits). 
  • ​Pre-Case Conference Family meeting held remotely (if scheduling permits, may occur any time between weeks 2-5, as clinically indicated) 

End of Quarantine 

  • Patient is screened by the Infection Control Physician to verify that they have completed quarantine successfully and that they are COVID-19 negative. 
  • Patient is integrated fully into the milieu, and able to participate in full residential programming at IRP-Ne. 
  • Patient to be assessed by program manager for level of care post quarantine, with possible step down to IRP-Ge if appropriate.  

 

 

Call the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA to find out if we can help with you or a loved one's psychiatric treatment.    Contact the Austen Riggs Center, a top psychiatric hospital in Stockbridge, MA.

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