COVID-19 UPDATES

June 5, 2020

Dear Friends,

The coronavirus pandemic presented Integrity House with some of the greatest challenges in its history. While our efforts to eradicate the virus indefinitely are far from over, I am elated to report that as of this week our residential programs are currently 100% COVID-19 free.

Achieving this outcome hasn’t been easy, especially for the individuals Integrity House serves. Addiction is a disease of isolation. The brave men and women who have recovered from the virus while under our care were saddled with two diseases simultaneously: COVID-19 and substance use disorder. Thanks to our front line healthcare heroes, aggressive testing, and effective prevention protocols, Integrity House has kept its doors open, providing essential, life-saving services.

In May, I asked for your help. The overwhelming response Integrity House received from so many has been nothing short of inspiring. Together, we raised more than $50,000 through emergency appeal contributions and general support. Our organization also received hundreds of highly coveted items like personal protective equipment, handmade face coverings, hand sanitizer, and thermometers to keep treatment going during the crisis. I am so grateful.

The Office of the State Medical Examiner has estimated that there were 319 preventable overdose fatalities in New Jersey last month, more deaths than any month in 2020. We can’t let the virus undo all of the work we’ve done. We are here, ready and willing to help.

In closing, I’d like to acknowledge the racial injustice that is causing Black communities deep pain. Black lives matter. While I will never understand the trauma George Floyd and many others have experienced, I recognize the dangers of and damage inflicted by racism. On Tuesday morning, our entire Integrity House family honored Mr. Floyd’s memory with eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence. I was humbly reminded of a fundamental principle: at Integrity House, all are worthy of recovery.

Integrity House denounces racism and pledges to continue its efforts to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion among its staff, board, programs, and the larger community. I urge all—our staff, clients, families, neighbors, friends—to listen more intently, behave more justly, and react more compassionately. All of us have an important role to play in making our communities safer, healthier, and more equitable.

The inequities that are prevalent across every American system will not correct themselves overnight. We have challenging work ahead of us, but together, we can do anything.

Thank you for your support of Integrity House.

Sincerely,

Robert J. Budsock
President and Chief Executive Officer

INTEGRITY HOUSE THANKS THE FOLLOWING FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS DURING THE CRISIS

AB Designs
Bagel Spot of Union
Selina Jimenez Ballard
Bergen New Bridge Medical Center
Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe
Trish and Robert Budsock
Joseph Byrne
Jennifer Canterbury
Debra and Matthew Chanin
Christopher J. Morrisey Scholarship Foundation
Kathleen Dedrick
Daniel DeTrolio
Dios Family
Elizabeth Housing Authority
Eva’s Village
Fernandez Family
Frederic Futterman
Truddy Gierbolini
Victor Gomperts
Cathy Hart
HealthyLine
Christopher Henry
Henry Snyder High School Alumni
Moshin Ilyas
John Jacobi
Jeni and James Jaghab
Brigitte Johnson
Jeffrey Johnson
Cynthia Kelly
Dr. Cheryl Ann Kennedy and John F. Kelly
April and Michael Kirby
Laird & Company
Alan Lassiter
John Lonsdorf
Melinda Lowell
Denise Lumford-Caldwell
Thomas Lusch
Jenna Marcella
Maura and Tim McGovern
Sarah McMahon
Med Screen Labs
Isabel Montick
David Morales
Irene Morris-Nann
Mountainside Newcomers Club
Alice and James Napolitano
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Paul Garavante
Geoffrey Perselay
Christine Piatkowski
Thomas Pietrykoski
Melissa Pineda
Sha’Ron Pulliam
Dr. Suchismita Ray
Barbara Riley
Jen and John Ruf
Sandra Ruple
Dr. Aakash Shah
Sisters Enlisted to Empower Dreams
Darrell Terry, Sr.
Conjetta Todd
Alberto Vargas
Victoria Foundation
Joseph Walsh
Eman Warraich-Gibson
Nancy and David Weeks
Dr. Jill Williams

April 23, 2020

Dear Families and Friends:

Like virtually every organization in the country, Integrity House has been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. This did not take us by surprise. Having successfully operated New Jersey’s premier substance use treatment and recovery organization for 52 years, we have extensive contingency plans in place to guide us through a wide variety of potential situations.

In the early stages of the novel coronavirus’ presence in the United States, our quality and safety team reviewed our protocols and reinforced action steps with all managers. We laid out a series of steps that would take us through what we correctly anticipated would be three stages of our COVID-19 response: prevention, containment and control.

Based on the best available data from public health professionals as well as the guidance of our quality and safety committee, we implemented prevention protocols, according to CDC guidelines, with the aim of controlling the entrance of COVID-19 into our Newark and Secaucus campuses, where our residential programs are. However, as our quality and safety committee predicted, we soon had to shift to containment mode. Integrity House, like many other healthcare providers, faces a unique set of challenges during this pandemic because of the nature of our programs and the type of care we provide. Our long-term residential program is a therapeutic community and the care we deliver is built around extensive peer interaction and support. We live and work in close quarters. We recognize these unique challenges and continue to do everything we can to encourage and enforce responsible social distancing, and to meet and exceed the guidance and standards established by the CDC and NJ Department of Health to minimize the potential for a COVID-19 spread in any Integrity House program.

Further compounding our containment difficulties, residents in our halfway house programs, as part of the program, do have gainful employment within the community, many performing essential service jobs that must continue for the public welfare. When these residents are out fulfilling their job responsibilities, we do not have any control over their person-to-person contacts.

On Sunday, April 5th we received confirmation that an individual enrolled and residing in our halfway house at Newark’s 49 Lincoln Park had contracted the COVID-19 virus. Tragically, they passed away at University Hospital on Tuesday, April 7th. The gentleman was 67-years-old and had pre-existing medical conditions. We are heartbroken over this loss to our Integrity House family, and our thoughts and prayers remain with his loved ones.

As soon as we learned that a resident of our 49 Lincoln Park halfway house program tested positive for COVID-19 we immediately tested all of the other residents who were living in that facility. Several members of this program also tested positive. In an abundance of caution, and to further contain the spread of COVID-19 within our program, on Wednesday, April 15th we made the decision to test all of our clients and staff in residential programs. The testing conducted within our programs was also driven by concerns of the real possibility of asymptomatic carriers; obtaining knowledge of the level of spread was important data to have in order to inform next steps.

As a result of our testing and containment efforts, we understand the extent of COVID-19 within our program and have entered into the control phase. Several of our clients and staff have tested positive for COVID-19, and we are doing everything in our power to be sure that they are properly and adequately separated and quarantined. Their symptoms are monitored multiple times daily and reviewed by our staff. Medical attention is promptly provided if/when symptoms indicate a need for medical intervention, and anyone who the medical staff feels should be hospitalized is immediately transported to the hospital Emergency Department. A few clients have opted to leave Integrity House and continue treatment via telehealth.

In addition, we have contracted with a professional cleaning/disinfecting company that is thoroughly disinfecting all physical areas and surfaces in both Newark and Secaucus, using Decon-30, a hospital-grade, botanical-based EPA-approved product verified to kill the Coronavirus and to remain effective for days.

To the best of our knowledge, we are the only program in New Jersey that took the step of testing everyone in an effort to contain and control the virus. The alternative would be to not test and to potentially allow this to fester for months. We believe that with our approach, we will be virus-free in a reasonable period of time, at which point we will tighten controls on who comes in contact with our clients. We will also institute additional protocols that will include rapid testing at admission, and a reinforcement of the mandatory two-week quarantine upon admission.

Our staff and clients are vigilantly monitored for any signs and symptoms of the virus, as well as making sure we all follow prevention protocols, including social distancing, cleaning, sanitizing, and wearing face coverings.

We have multiple clients and families who are experiencing fear and anger through this frightening time. This is understandable. Our staff are calling all families with test results, and informing them of the steps we are taking to quarantine, monitor and see to the well-being of these clients. Rest assured that the health and well-being of all of the Integrity House family – clients, staff, volunteers, and vendors – is my absolute number one priority.

The question has been asked, why, after the first identified case of COVID-19, did we not close our entire program. Obviously, it would be impossible, and in fact, irresponsible to simply “shut down” Integrity House programs. Many of our clients would have no other place to go, and most are in the midst of treatment programs that would be irreparably disrupted by a shut down. Our contingency planning has anticipated a situation similar to this, and we are acting on those plans accordingly. That said, we have identified emergency discharge plans for clients who meet certain medical criteria.

Please be assured that Integrity House is strictly adhering to recommended procedures and guidelines as directed by both the CDC and NJ Department of Health.

These are extraordinary times.

Never in my life did I think that we would encounter a situation as difficult as the one we are facing today. I am so proud of the dedication, innovation, and creativity of our staff, who are helping and supporting our clients, and each other, through what seems like impossible circumstances. I can’t thank them enough for the work that they do.

Our clients, and their families, depend on Integrity House to help them achieve recovery. The remarkable job our staff is doing to fight addiction while keeping the organization safe is nothing short of awe inspiring.

These are high-stress times. For many in our state, COVID-19 has resulted in job loss, food and financial insecurity, sickness, and even death. We know that emotional pain can be just as profound as physical pain. Throughout this entire pandemic, the well-being of our clients and our staff has been our paramount concern. This has always been our solemn commitment at Integrity House. It is a commitment that is ironclad and one on which we will never waver.

Regards,

Robert J. Budsock
President and Chief Executive Officer

April 1, 2020

Dear Friends:

Addiction services are essential services. Integrity House remains open across all levels of care and locations. We are accepting new admissions.

While the world is experiencing the unprecedented magnitude of COVID-19, of which Integrity House is not insulated, I am optimistic that better days are ahead. All of us at Integrity House are working together to deliver high-quality services despite very challenging circumstances. I am so proud of all that we are continuing to achieve together. Together, we can do anything. I hope that these updates bring some joy your way.

  • On Wednesday, 3/25 Integrity House learned that it has been selected to receive the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies’ (NJAMHAA) Outstanding Provider of the Year Award. We look forward to celebrating soon.
  • Last month, the 2019 Integrity House Annual Report was completed. Unfortunately, we cannot do a major mailer at this time. We are excited to share AR 19 with you electronically. Click here to see the report.

Integrity House continues to use its position to advocate for those who need addiction and mental health services, even in times of social isolation.

To ensure that safety and awareness are guiding recovery for the hundreds of people who are relying on Integrity House, we have updated our response to include the following policies.

  • A quarantine plan that adheres to CDC guidelines has been created in the event that a program participant in any of our residential programs becomes COVID-19 positive.
  • Since 3/31, all Integrity House staffers have been required to undergo screening measures when they report to work. These measures include a temperature check and a questionnaire.
  • Our outpatient programs in Hudson County, Newark, Morris Plains, and Toms River are delivering hybrid services, including in-person and telehealth appointments and programming. Admission inquiries at the outpatient levels may be submitted online or over the phone. Contact information for all outpatient programs is listed below.
  • The department overseeing residential admissions continues enhanced screening measures, including COVID-19 symptom checks. The admissions department requires supporting documentation of health status from referral sources. Exclusionary criteria for admission includes anyone over the age of 60, or with the following health conditions: diabetes, asthma, respiratory disease, heart disease, cancer, and/or immunodeficiency disorders.
  • Since 3/23, all individuals admitted into short or long-term residential programs have been placed on a seven-day observation period which includes a daily check for COVID-19 symptoms by a registered nurse.
  • Since 3/23, halfway house programs have only accepted admissions from other internal levels of care.
  • Since 3/23, most non-essential, administrative staffers have been working from home in adherence to social distancing recommendations. Direct service staffers continue to report to various Integrity House locations. Staffers and participants who are sick have been encouraged to stay home.
  • On Thursday, 3/19 Integrity House launched an internal marketing campaign to reinforce outstanding hygiene. All staffers are required to wash their hands every time they enter any Integrity House building, including at the start of the workday, upon returning from lunch, etc. Staffers have been urged to wash their hands regularly throughout the day, and follow other sensible hygiene and spacing recommendations.
  • All external visits, including family and child visits, continue to be suspended until further notice. We recognize that family support is critical to recovery and encourage communication through phone calls. This does not include admissions-related visits or screenings.
  • Integrity House regularly cleans and disinfects all of its buildings, both programmatic and administrative. Staffers are required to disinfect their workstations at the start and end of the workday.
  • Mealtimes for participants of residential programs continue to be thoughtfully staggered to keep the number of individuals in our cafeterias at a minimum at all times. Additional quality control measures are underway to promote social distancing.
  • Provisions, including food, water, medication, cleaning supplies, soap, etc., have been ordered and added to our reserves.
  • All student internship programs with our partnering higher education institutions continue to be suspended until further notice.

Integrity House is closely monitoring and following the recommendations of the federal, state, and local governments. Each day, we are learning more from our elected and appointed officials. Our senior leadership team maintains regular contact with the NJ Department of Health and the NJ Department of Human Services. We are prepared to tailor our response to consistently adhere to public health requirements and will keep you informed on any changes as they happen.

In my last update, I mentioned that our annual Golf Classic has been canceled. Fundraising events are a critical revenue source for Integrity House. Funds garnered from events, like the Golf Classic, support recovery services, medication, and women and children’s supportive housing. We really need your help. Please donate to Integrity House today.

Thank you and stay hopeful.

Robert J. Budsock
President and Chief Executive Officer

OUTPATIENT SERVICES
Hudson County
973-289-9330
Morris Plains
973-803-7297
Newark (Men’s)
973-573-3271
Newark (Women’s)
973-986-1402
Toms River
862-373-5931
RESIDENTIAL ADMISSIONS

973-848-3751

March 23, 2020

Dear Friends:

As promised, I am reaching out with updates on our response to COVID-19. Integrity House remains open across all levels of care and locations. We are accepting new admissions.

To ensure that safety and awareness are guiding recovery for the hundreds of people who are relying on Integrity House, we have implemented the following policies in response to the pandemic.

  • Today, 3/23 our outpatient programs in Newark, Morris Plains, Jersey City, and Toms River began delivering hybrid services, including in-person and telehealth appointments and programming. Contact information for all outpatient programs is listed below.
  • Today, 3/23 the department overseeing residential admissions began enhanced screening measures, including COVID-19 symptom checks. Effective today, the admissions department will also require supporting documentation of health status from referral sources. Exclusionary criteria for admission includes anyone over the age of 60, or with the following health conditions: diabetes, asthma, respiratory disease, heart disease, cancer, and/or immunodeficiency disorders.
  • Effective today, 3/23 all individuals admitted into short or long-term residential programs will be placed on a seven-day observation period which includes a daily check for COVID-19 symptoms by a registered nurse.
  • Effective today, 3/23 halfway house programs will only accept admissions from other internal levels of care.
  • Today, 3/23 most non-essential, administrative staffers began working from home in adherence to social distancing recommendations. Direct service staffers will continue to report to various Integrity House locations. Staffers and participants who are sick have been encouraged to stay home.
  • On Thursday, 3/19 Integrity House launched an internal marketing campaign to reinforce outstanding hygiene. All staffers are required to wash their hands every time they enter any Integrity House building, including at the start of the workday, upon returning from lunch, etc. Staffers have been urged to wash their hands regularly throughout the day, and follow other sensible hygiene and spacing recommendations.
  • All external visits, including family and child visits, continue to be suspended until further notice. We recognize that family support is critical to recovery and encourage communication through phone calls. This does not include admissions-related visits or screenings.
  • Integrity House has rigorously cleaned all of its buildings, both programmatic and administrative. Staffers are required to disinfect their workstations at the start and end of the workday.
  • Mealtimes for participants of residential programs continue to be thoughtfully staggered to keep the number of individuals in our cafeterias at a minimum at all times.
  • Provisions, including food, water, medication, cleaning supplies, soap, etc., have been ordered and added to our reserves.
  • All student internship programs with our partnering higher education institutions continue to be suspended until further notice.
  • The annual Integrity House Golf Classic scheduled for Monday, 5/18 has been postponed. We will reach out with a reschedule date.

Integrity House is closely monitoring and following the recommendations of the federal, state, and local governments. Each day, we are learning more from our elected and appointed officials. Our senior leadership team maintains regular contact with the NJ Department of Health and the NJ Department of Human Services. We are prepared to tailor our response to consistently adhere to public health requirements and promise to keep you informed on any changes as they happen.

Thank you and stay healthy.

Robert J. Budsock
President and Chief Executive Officer

OUTPATIENT SERVICES PHONE NUMBERS

Hudson County 973-289-9330
Morris Plains 973-803-7297
Newark (Men’s) 973-573-3271
Newark (Women’s) 973-986-1402
Toms River 862-373-5931

RESIDENTIAL ADMISSIONS PHONE NUMBER

973-848-3751

March 18, 2020

Dear Friends:

The novel coronavirus has been and continues to be unprecedented and disruptive to all. In these very uncertain times, people with substance addiction still need us. They need us now more than ever. The anxiety COVID-19 is causing can have a devastating impact on individuals with substance use disorder, even triggering a return to use. We cannot turn our backs on the people who need us the most. I implore you to show compassion and empathy to the most vulnerable members of our community, including those with addiction and those facing homelessness.

Integrity House will continue its service delivery across all programs and locations.

For more than 51 years, the safety of our program participants, staffers, neighbors, and communities has been paramount. We are taking this matter very seriously. To ensure that safety and awareness are guiding recovery for the hundreds of people who are relying on Integrity House, we have implemented the following sensible policies in response to the pandemic.

  • All external visits, including family and child visits, have been suspended until further notice. We recognize that family support is critical to recovery and encourage communication through phone calls. This does not include admissions-related visits or screenings.
  • All admissions-related visitors will be screened through a questionnaire and have their temperature checked.
  • All staffers are required to wash their hands every time they enter any Integrity House building, including at the start of the workday, upon returning from lunch, etc. Staffers have been urged to wash their hands regularly throughout the day, and follow other sensible hygiene recommendations. As you’re reading this, our organization is rolling out an internal marketing campaign to continuously promote outstanding hygiene.
  • Integrity House has rigorously cleaned all of its buildings, both programmatic and administrative. Staffers are required to disinfect their workstations at the start and end of the workday.
  • Meal times for participants of residential programs have been thoughtfully staggered to keep the number of individuals in our cafeterias at a minimum at all times.
  • Provisions, including food, water, medication, cleaning supplies, soap, etc., have been ordered and added to our stockpile.
  • All student internship programs with our partnering higher education institutions have been suspended until further notice.
  • Integrity House is currently exploring telehealth opportunities (at the outpatient levels) with its funding sources in preparation for increased distancing recommendations from federal, state, and local health agencies.
  • Integrity House is ALWAYS a stigma-free zone. Staffers who are sick have been encouraged to stay home.
  • Integrity House is closely monitoring and following the recommendations of the federal, state, and local governments. Each day, we are learning more from our elected and appointed officials. We are prepared to tailor our response to consistently adhere to public health requirements and promise to keep you informed on any changes.

Today, especially, I am grateful for our brave staff. They are committed to delivering critical services despite extraordinary circumstances — even as their children are home from school, supermarket shelves are empty, and fears are high. Their professionalism is getting us through this.

Thank you and be well.

Robert J. Budsock
President and Chief Executive Officer