COVID-19 Update
June 23, 2020

Call to Action: Oppose OPWDD Cuts 
The Arc New York and New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) are working to oppose proposed cuts that would slash funding to OPWDD voluntary providers. We need your voices to join the call. You can use our online advocacy platform to send letters to Governor Cuomo and OPWDD opposing the cuts with just one click. A template letter, talking points and advocacy tips are also available for download in PDF and word formats. Please share these advocacy resources widely with your network and encourage families, staff, self-advocates and community members to send letters by July 1. 

Tomorrow at 10 a.m., Senator David Carlucci Chair of the Senate Mental Health And Developmental Disabilities Committee will also be hosting a virtual rally in conjunction with NYDA to oppose the cuts. Carmine  Marchionda, Executive Director of The Arc Rockland will join the rally speakers to share the impact the cuts would have on providers and the people we support. You can join the rally live here, or visit The Arc New York Facebook page to watch at any time. 

O PWDD Visitation Guidance Clarification
On Friday, June 19, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) issued clarifying guidance to their "Interim Visitation Guidance for Certified Residential Facilities." The clarifying guidance can be viewed here.
We received several questions from Chapters about Supportive IRAs and compliance with the interim guidance. I n our conversations with OPWDD's General Counsel, they made it clear that the interim guidance and all requirements apply to the Supportive IRAs. Thus, a provider would need to restrict visitation at Supportive IRAs to times when a staff can be present. When a provider submits the attestation, they are co mmitting to the conditions of the visitation program. We did attempt to get OPWDD to include language that required providers to "make reasonable efforts" to comply since some of the requirements stretch our ability to ensure that they are met. A key component in the success of the program will be educating individuals and families on the conditions of the Chapter's visitation program.
As promised, we continue to gather sample visitation policy and procedures that conform to the interim guidance. Here are a few that have been generously provided by the Chapters.
We thank all the Chapters who have taken time to develop and share these materials.
Results of The Arc of the United States COVID-19 Survey
Between April and May, the Arc of the United States conducted a survey of their chapters to gather information on issues impacting organizations as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Arc of the US published a presentation that summarizes the findings of the survey. The survey revealed the loss of 115 people with I/DD and 14 staff members as of May 12. 

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

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