COVID-19 Update
April 15, 2020

Extended Recertification for Electronic/Paper Transmitter Identification Number
Providers are required to submit an Electronic/Paper Transmitter Identification Number (ETIN) Application and a Certification Statement before submitting claims to New York State Medicaid. The ETIN and the associated certification qualify the provider to submit claims in both electronic and paper formats. Providers are asked to update their Certification Statement on an annual basis, and are sent renewal information when their Certification Statement nears expiration.
In response to the ongoing public health emergency, New York State Medicaid is extending the recertification window for expiring ETINs by an additional sixty (60) days. Providers will remain bound by the terms of the previously signed agreement. Please contact the eMedNY Call Center at (800) 343-9000 with any questions.

Clarification on EO 202.16 - Use of Face Coverings
Following the release of Executive Order 202.16 on Monday, The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) published " Interim Guidance on Requiring Face Coverings for Public and Private Employees Interacting with the Public." The guidance offers several points of clarification to the EO language. Options for face coverings include, but are not limited to: cloth masks, surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields. The guidance also clarifies what constitutes direct interaction with the public. We anticipate further guidance will be coming from The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

Occupational Therapy Assistants and Telehealth
Today, the New York State Office of the Professions (OP) provided very good news regarding Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) and the delivery of telehealth services. OP clarified that OTAs are permitted to deliver services via telehealth under the usual supervision of an OT, during the State of Emergency. The clarification can be found within the OP COVID-19 FAQs number 49.  Additional information on telehealth resources and OTAs can be found here .

NYS COVID-19 Non-Congregate Sheltering Plan
New York state has announced that FEMA has approved their statewide plan for non-congregate sheltering.  This approval allows governmental entities and private non-profits (PNPs) to utilize hotel and motel rooms as non-congregate sheltering for certain defined populations. The costs associated with non-congregate sheltering conforming to New York's approved plan would be eligible for partial reimbursement under FEMA's Public Assistance program. Additional information can be found at DHES Active Declarations under DR-4480.  Additional information about New York's statewide NSC plan can be found here.
U.S. HHS OCR Teleconference about COVID-19
On Thursday April 16, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will be holding a teleconference on COVID-19. The focus of the call will be to inform stakeholders and dispel rumors regarding information sharing and civil rights concerns. 
The call information is:
1-888-270-9936 Access Code: 2977830 There will be 500 lines available.
Captioning is available here

CDC Guidance on Visiting Parks and Recreational Activities
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published guidance on "Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities." While OPWDD's restrictions on community outings remain in effect, OPWDD does allow low-risk community outings, such as sitting outside or talking a walk. These activities must be done in accordance with The New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) precautionary measuresThese measures and the CDC guidance should be considered by any person participating in outdoor activities. 

Media Coverage 
The Daily Freeman featured the commitment of Direct Support Professionals and explored the impact of COVID-19 on the people supported by The Arc Mid Hudson and other regional providers in this story. CityLimits reported on the rising death toll among people served in New York City's guardianship programs here, and covered the unique challenges of supporting people with disabilities through this pandemic here

Call to Action: Improved Access to Recovery Rebates
The Arc NY urges the Secretary of Treasury, Commissioner of Social Security Administration, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs to improve access to Economic Impact Payments for individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Chapters are encouraged to join The Arc US and Arc chapters across the nation in singing on to this letter. The full text of the letter is linked at the top of the sign-on page.

Tell Congress #WeAreEssential
Congress must include the needs of people with disabilities, family caregivers, and the direct support professional (DSP) workforce in the next coronavirus relief legislation - there is so much at stake.  Contact your Members of Congress now!
The entire country is facing the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, but people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable. People with disabilities are more likely to have underlying health conditions and live in poverty - this means that they will be disproportionately impacted and need ongoing support.
Ask your Member of Congress to pass a bill that addresses the specific and critical needs of people with disabilities during this pandemic, including:
  • Funding for a Medicaid grant program to support access to home and community-based services (to minimize the risk of people with disabilities being forced into institutions) and to support the DSP workforce.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the health and safety of direct support professionals. DSPs must be designated as essential workforce so that they have access to the PPE and medical supplies they need.
  • Paid leave for caregivers. As more people with disabilities lose their usual sources of care, family caregivers are scrambling and need access to paid leave and sick days to help their loved ones.
  • Help for people on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to access Recovery Rebates. People with disabilities on SSI are being asked to file needless paperwork in order to access economic stimulus payments. Congress should tell Federal agencies to use their existing authority to share data and file for people on SSI.
75 Stay at Home Activities
The Arc US shared 75 ideas to keep you busy while staying home. Have fun!

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