Teleconference during COVID-19

Post date: Mar 23, 2020 5:36:16 PM

Greetings in the time of Coronavirus:

We are being discouraged from attending group meetings to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus - so we are meeting by teleconference & video-conference.


Based upon feedback from GROW members and organizers, we learn that those who use 'government phones' have restricted # of minutes.

Being unable to participate in the 2-hour meetings and limited in peer-to-peer 12-step telephone conversations interferes with recovery and helping each other during stressful times.


I urge the GROWers who feel comfortable in doing so, to contact their US Congresspersons and Senators to request additional minutes and data for 'government phones' during the virus crisis.

Below is a letter sent [personally, not by GROW] to elected officials requesting relief from limitations on minutes for 'government phones'. Please feel free to ask me how to contact elected officials and [if you feel comfortable] call their offices about this matter of direct concern for peer-to-peer counseling groups.

Dear Senator Duckworth/Durbin/Rep ____:

I work for a mutual-help mental health group GROW which has 12-step, peer-to-peer counseling groups throughout Illinois.

We began meeting by teleconference when the COVID-19 crisis began but quickly learned that the members were unable to fully participate because of the limited number of minutes for their 'government phones.'

** Can the Coronavirus Recovery Act legislation add more minutes [and data, please] to the government phones so that those suffering mental health illnesses and seeking recovery through behavior modification will be able to continue their recovery?

Thank you.

The House and Senate are considering a $1 trillion Coronavirus Recovery Act proposal this week.

We need to assure that this Bill includes funds for the recovery of private, not-for-profit, and public behavioral health entities that already are suffering the catastrophic effects of shelter in place and social distancing. We don’t want behavioral health entities left out of this Bill.

Also, we need to assure that telephone services can be reimbursed through Medicaid, Medicate, and private insurance plans as part of the response to the National Emergency. Telephonic contact between provider and client should be reimbursable directly without the need for waivers, exceptions, etc.

Please act today. Call your Senators and Representative today and demand these actions.

Christopher Stohr, PhD

National Coordinator/Illinois Coordinator

GROW In America/ GROW In Illinois

P.O. Box 3667, Champaign, Illinois, 61826

217.766.4071 - personal cell, voice