COVID-19 Update
April 1, 2020

AHRC NYC CEO Marco Damiani discussed the complex challenges and dire consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the providers who support them with NY1. Watch the interview here

The Arc New York Letter to the Governor 
Today, The Arc New York submitted a letter to the Governor and key state leaders calling for urgent support of New York's voluntary I/DD providers and Direct Support Professionals (DSP). The letter emphasized the role of DSPs as critical front-line healthcare workers and the need for enhanced wages and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our staff, as well as hospital staff.  

OPWDD Interim Guidance Regarding Modified Training and Recertifications
In response to Executive Order 202.11, which authorized modification of training requirements for DSPs, The Office for People with Developmental Disabilites (OPWDD) has published interim guidance that outlines the modified training requirements in accordance with NYCRR Title 14 Part 633.16. Notably, OPWDD has extended the annual training recertification for current DSPs by ninety days. Chapters should share this guidance with their training staff.

Temporary Emergency Respite Capacity in Response to COVID-19
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Chapters may be eligible for temporary emergency respite. OPWDD has released guidance detailing considerations that OPWDD will make when prioritizing placement of individuals ready to be discharged from a hospital, and the process for accessing a temporary emergency respite opportunity. Chapters should work closely with the Care Coordination Organizations (CCOs) and the individual's Care Manager when determining if there is a need for this placement, as the Care Manager is responsible for facilitating the process. Please share this guidance with all Chapter staff responsible for managing placements.
Updated Regional Office Crisis Response Contact
To assist with temporary emergency respite requests, OWPDD has updated their Regional Office contacts. The Regional Offices can also be reached for emergency issues outside those related to COVID-19.
Medicaid Changes to Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Policy
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has published guidance for Medicaid Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) providers. Notably, the DOH has waived the requirement for in-person signatures by persons receiving DMEPOS. Delivery will now be communicated via text, email or telephone voice message. More information on changes to DMEPOS policy can be found here

Temporary Suspension of Revalidation of Medicaid Providers
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has approved New York's request to cease revalidation of Medicaid providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The New York State Medicaid Program has made several changes to Provider Enrollment which can be found here
Summary of Recent Meetings with OPWDD
The Provider Association and OPWDD continue to have regular meetings to discuss funding, operation and healthcare needs during the COVID-19 public health crisis. There is an abundance of information shared and it is frequently updated. Kirk Lewis, Schenectady Arc Executive Director and Chair of the Executive Director Association (EDA) recently shared very comprehensive notes that capture OPWDD's proposed strategy for provider funding support and developing emergency housing capacity. We thank Kirk for his leadership and sharing this excellent summary.
Update to Federal Sick Leave Law Applicability
In a previous update, we reported that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was likely to apply to our Chapters due to the very narrow exception available to certain "health care providers."  The DOL has since published an FAQ on their website to provide additional guidance.  The FAQ (specifically questions 56-57) indicates that certain providers are exempt, including nursing homes, home health care providers, or any similar kind of facility.

We are still awaiting formal regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). However, based on this FAQ, The Arc New York is comfortable concluding that our Chapters should be exempt from the FFCRA,  unless we receive contrary regulations or guidance from DOL. The DOL has also indicated that a period of nonenforcement will be employed during April. In the event we are later advised the FFCRA does apply to our Chapters, we will have an opportunity to remedy without remuneration from DOL. 

Barclay Damon Federal CARES Act and State COVID Updates Webinar 
Barclay Damon has graciously offered to provide The Arc New York with a personalized webinar for our Chapters covering the Federal CARES Arc and updates on New York State's COVID-related financial, regulatory and legal initiatives. The webinar will be held at noon on Thursday, April 2Please register here After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
NYC Human Resources Administration alert on Medicaid Program Modifications 
The New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) released an alert on Medicaid program modifications due to COVID-19. Note: This only applies to individuals who are receiving Medicaid through HRA. 

Pursuant to these modifications, no cases will be closed due to failure to renew or provide documentation during the ongoing emergency. Renewals will be extended for 12 months, and excess resource cases will be extended for 6 months. This applies to all renewal cases including Office of Mail Renewal, MLTC, Nursing Home Eligibility, Medicare Savings Program, MBI-WPD, Stenson and Rosenberg recipients. 
Additionally, individuals who have a Medicaid income spend-down who have met their surplus for March will have their coverage extended for 6 months if they are unable to continue submitting bills or payments due to the COVID-19 crisis. To receive this extension, individuals must call the MICSA Surplus Helpline at (929) 221-0835 and leave a voice mail providing the information outlined in the alert. 

Template Employee Leasing Agreement 
We have received several inquiries from Chapters about engaging with contractors to provide Direct Support Professional(DSP) staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. A sample employee leasing agreement for use with non-Arc Chapters can be found here. Please contact the State Office legal department with questions. 

Update OSHA Workplace Preparation Guidelines
OSHA recently published "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19." Please note that the guidance classifies workplaces into low, medium, high, and very high exposure risks.

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.

Josh Christiana , Associate Executive 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 
  • Joint Committee on Quality & Compliance 
  • Guardianship Coordinators 
  • State Office Staff