COVID-19 Update
April 15, 2020

Downstate COVID-19 Discussion
Yesterday, Executive Directors from our five downstate Chapters shared their experiences, challenges and best practices managing the COVID-19 Crisis in a virtual presentation. More than 400 attendees learned strategies to strengthen the response to this pandemic throughout the state. Resources from the Chapters and webinar materials can be found below: 
Thank you to the panelists for making time during this crisis to share valuable lessons learned, and to the attendees for their commitment to keeping our staff and the people we support healthy and safe. 

Executive Order 202.17 
Tonight, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.17. The order requires that any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering  cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain social distance. It also requires letters of no-action or no-filing be issued by the Attorney General. 

$200M in Funding Opportunities through COVID-19 Telehealth Program
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will provide $200 million in Medicare funding as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to help health care providers connect care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide immediate support to eligible health care providers by fully funding telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide critical connected care until the program's funds have been expended or the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

Health care providers seeking to participate in the COVID-19 Telehealth Program must obtain an eligibility determination from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) for each site they include in their application. Health care provider sites that USAC has already deemed eligible to participate in the Commission's existing Rural Health Care (RHC) Programs may rely on that eligibility determination for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

In advance of filing an application, parties should:
  • Obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN) from the Commission Registration System (CORES), as well as a CORES username and password. An FRN is a 10-digit number that is assigned to a business or individual registering with the FCC and is used to identify the registrant's business dealings with the FCC.
  • Obtain an eligibility determination from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) by filing FCC Form 460 through My Portal on USAC's webpage.  (Filers do not need to be rural health care providers in order to file Form 460 for this program.) If you are already deemed eligible you may login here.
  • Register with the federal System for Award Management (SAM)
A helpful FAQ has been provided to assist with questions you may have regarding the program and application process. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has created a factsheet on the expansion of telehealth services during the declared COVID-19 national emergency.

It is not clear whether our Article 16 and 28 clinics would be eligible, but we believe those who provide  services to Medicare beneficiaries may very well be. You do not have to wait for an eligibility determination to submit an application.  It is only $200 million and the funding is first come first serve.

SSI Recipients to Automatically Receive COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments
There has been ongoing concern regarding how Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will receive their COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments without taking arduous additional steps. The Arc US and The Arc New York, along with a national coalition, have diligently lobbied the Treasury Department, Social Security Administration, and congressional leaders to find a solution to this oversight. As a result, the Social Security Administration announced today that SSI recipients with no qualifying children will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments in the same manner as they normally receive their SSI payments. Payments will be issued by early May. Individuals with children should use the "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here" portal on the IRS website. More information can be found here.

A Congressional letter circulated by The Arc US and Arc NY addressing this matter can be found  here. Additional advocacy le tters circulated to congressional leaders by The Arc US, joined by The Arc NY and a coalition of disability providers can be found here and here.  

OPWDD Releases Poster and Plain Language Guidance
OPWDD developed a poster on best practices and procedures for COVID-19, and a flyer with plain language guidance for individuals and providers. Please share these tools at your discretion. 

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 
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