COVID-19 Update
February 8, 2021

All New Yorkers With I/DD Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine 
After a hard-fought advocacy campaign, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions - including all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) - can make vaccination appointments at state-run mass vaccination sites beginning February 14, with the first appointments scheduled for February 15. 

People scheduling appointments must be prepared to provide documentation of their eligibility as required by the facility where they are getting vaccinated. According to the Governor's press release, this documentation will include:
  • a doctor's letter, or
  • medical information evidencing comorbidity, or
  • a signed certification.
We are seeking clarification about the details of required documentation. More information about scheduling an appointment at one of the state-operated vaccination sites can be found here. Please note, comorbidities have not yet been added to the eligibility checker. We anticipate that will be added once appointments open for this population on February 14. 
FEMA Reimbursement Increase
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced February 3 that the federal cost share will be increased from 75% to 100% for all retroactive and prospective projects. Any qualifying expenses under the previous or current FEMA guidelines will now be reimbursed at 100%. More information can be found here

FEMA also advised they will fund vaccine distribution and administration at 100% for work conducted from January 21 through September 30, 2021. More information can be found in FEMA's COVID-19 Pandemic Vaccination Planning FAQ.  
OPWDD Vaccine Data Collection for Day & Waiver Services PPT
The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) conducted a webinar February 4 on the updated vaccination reporting requirements. The PowerPoint from the presentation is available here. Please use this as a reference when questions arise regarding the reporting expectations and process.
Free Webinar - Bridging the "Digital Divide" During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and HHS Administration for Community Living (ACL) is hosting a free webinar February 18 on the impact of the transition to virtual services and telemedicine on people with disabilities and older adults. More information and a registration link can be found here.
The webinar will be recorded and a link will be provided to registrants. If you are unable to attend live on February 18, we encourage you to register so you will receive a link to the recording.
Free Webinar - Experience of People with I/DD and the Pandemic, featuring Professor Scott Landes
The Lurie Institute and Community Living Policy Center are hosting a free webinar February 22, featuring Professor Scott Landes. Landes continues to partner with the Arc New York on our COVID-19 data project and has published several important studies on the impact of COVID-19 on people with I/DD. The free webinar will focus on ways to achieve social justice for people with I/DD during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can register for the webinar here.
Vaccination Efforts and Heart Health on Talk Radio 1300
Albany Medical Center President and CEO Dennis P. McKenna, M.D., will be live at on Talk 1300 AM (98.7 FM or at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, to discuss plans for delivering the COVID-19 vaccine across the Capital Region.

Cardiologist Suzie Mookherjee, M.D. will be live at 7:30 a.m. to discuss Albany Med's advanced cardiac services and support of the American Heart Association's heart health awareness month in February. Chapters operating in the Capital District may benefit from listening to these discussions.
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, Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations

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