COVID-19 Update
April 2, 2021
CMS Approves Appendix K Waiver Extension
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved an extension of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Appendix K Waiver Amendment. The amendment was set to expire March 31. CMS approved the amendment through six months following the end of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency. OPWDD may now extend the provisions within the Appendix K for up to the same time frame.

PBS NewsHour Segment on COVID-19 and the I/DD Population Highlights Data Project
The impact of our COVID-19 data collection efforts continue to make waves nationally. PBS NewsHour aired a segment exploring the elevated risk of COVID-19 for individuals with I/DD, and their uphill battle to prioritize this high-risk population for vaccination. The segment highlights our data project partnership with New York Disability Advocates, and Syracuse University professor Scott Landes.
Story on Mission to Vaccinate Hesitant Staff
The New York Times ran a story about one nursing home's persistence in overcoming their staff's COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy. The story details the Forest Hills nursing home Chief Executive's strategies, setbacks and successes on the journey to get staff vaccinated. Please share this story with all those involved in encouraging staff to consider getting vaccinated.
50% Building Capacity Clarification
During our weekly call with Chapters, the question was raised regarding the applicability of the 50% capacity reduction for our buildings. New York state has four phases of reopening, as well as state guidelines, that could cover settings where people with I/DD work, including workshops. We reviewed those guidance documents, and none apply to our site-based day services. Thus, we should continue to follow the existing OPWDD guidance. The current interim guidance regarding reopening of day services directs the use of social distancing of 6 feet and makes no reference to a 50% building capacity reduction for day services. Chapters should continue to adhere to the current guidance, as well as their individual safety plans. 

This afternoon, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) shared data regarding the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and deaths due to COVID-19 within the service system. 

As of March 17, 2021:
  • 10,113 people supported have been confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • 7,002 of these people reside in a certified residential facility. 
  • There have been 642 deaths relating to COVID-19.
  • 13,846 staff have been confirmed to have COVID-19.

OPWDD has not yet supplied more detailed data regarding COVID-19 cases by setting.  As a reminder, New York state maintains data on cases by county here.

This and all related updates will be cataloged on The Arc New York COVID-19 Resource Page for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
CONTACT: Josh Christiana, Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations
This email was sent to:
  • President Jack Kowalczyk 
  • Board of Governors 
  • Chapter Presidents
  • Executive Directors 
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers  
  • HR Directors 
  • PR Directors 
  • Quality & Compliance Staff 
  • Residential Directors
  • Joint Committee on Quality & Compliance 
  • Guardianship Coordinators 
  • State Office Staff