COVID-19 Update
May 20, 2020

Reminder Regarding COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments  
In light of recent press regarding nursing homes and other congregate care facilities keeping the Economic Impact Payments that their residents received, we want to remind all Chapters that these stimulus payments should be given directly to the individual. These payments will not be counted as income or a resource for SSI and Medicaid eligibility purposes for a period of 12 months, so there does not need to be concern about benefit eligibility at this time. 

OPWDD DQI COVID-19 Prevention and Control Survey Materials
The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Division of Quality Improvement (DQI) distributed materials on their COVID-19 Prevention and Control Survey. We previously shared information on this survey in our in our May 12 COVID-19 Update, which can be found here.
OPWDD included the following documents:
The guidance document directs the activities of the surveyor both in mandatory off-site and on-site activities. It also includes a section specific to sites with one or more individuals or staff members with a COVID-19 status. All Chapter staff involved in survey management and response should review this guidance document closely.  Some noteworthy aspects of the document include:
  • Surveyors will be expecting to be subjected to health checks upon arrival. Page 10 details exactly what they will be looking for. Chapters should review this closely with site management and staff.
  • On-site activity observations will be 10 continuous minutes of activities that require close staff to individual contact. The surveyor is expected to compare what is in written procedure to the staff action.
  • Surveyors will gather much of their pre-survey information from the Incident Management and Reporting Application (IRMA). Thus, it is critical Chapters ensure that all fields within the COVID-19 cases in IRMA are complete and updated.
  • Surveyors will be reviewing cleaning products and verifying if they are EPA-registered disinfectants. They will look for a documentation that cleaning is occurring per shift.
  • Surveyors may reach out to family members/advocates of individuals supported to verify that they have been informed on the COVID-19 status of the individual or site should there be an exposure, quarantine or isolation designation.
  • Surveyors are not to validate the Local Health Department or Health Care Provider designated quarantine or isolation level.
We have been informed that one Chapter of The Arc New York has been selected to receive this survey. OPWDD DQI staff has made contact and requested policies and procedures, as well as evidence of staff training on infection prevention and control. Consistent with what OPWDD shared, the Chapter operates a program that received an adverse action (45- or 60-day letter) within the last 365 days.
Please notify us if you are selected for a survey so we may assist you as necessary.
OPWDD Retainer Day Attestation
As discussed in their recent webinars, OPWDD has released their retainer day attestation document. They have also included a memo instructing providers to complete and submit the form even if they do not choose to participate in the Day Services Retainer Program.  The form is due to OPWDD within three business days of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) publishing their report on the total number of retainer units and overall monthly billing limit available to a provider.  Keep an eye out for receipt of notification of retainer units from DOH via OPA. Please note that OPWDD has made at least one key change in the attestation since the original webinar, in that the mandate to retain certain staff within eligible programs no longer applies to the CFR 100 staff.

Webinar: Planning During the COVID-19 Emergency
The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is holding a webinar in collaboration with the Managing Care Community of Practice (MC-COP) this Friday, May 22 at 1 pm titled, "Service Authorization and Care Planning During the COVID-19 Emergency." The webinar will review service authorization and care planning documentation requirements for the Day Services Retainer and Community Habilitation Residential (CH-R) Programs, and describe the COVID Life Plan and Staff Action Plan Addendum for day services and the CH-R Service Authorization Provider Letter. Registration can be completed here.
OPWDD COVID-19 Impact Data
On Tuesday, OPWDD shared updated COVID-19 impact data with the Provider Association. Here is the information they shared:
  • 2,506 total infections to date
    • 2,057 of those infections can be attributed to individuals residing in OPWDD certified residential settings
  • 380 fatalities
    • 90% of deaths are located in the downstate region (NYC, Long Island, Rockland, Putnam, Westchester, Orange, Nassau, Suffolk)
    • 83% of deaths are attributed to individuals that are 50 or older
    • 62% of deaths are men
  • 80% of those who have passed away also had one or more commodities (i.e., hypertension, diabetes, dementia, cancer, etc...)
NYDA COVID-19 Impact Data 
New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) also released a summary of weekly COVID-19 Impact Survey Results from NYDA members, which includes all Chapters of The Arc New York. Members of The Arc New York State Office are working closely with NYDA and Syracuse University to collect and analyze this data. We are beginning to see some downward trends in infection and hospitalization among staff and individuals served.  Some of the major takeaways from the most recent survey include:
  • The number of current infections among individuals served is down more than 38% among respondents.
  • Although the number of staff in quarantine rose by 28%, staff infections are down 34% from the prior week.
  • Likewise, the number of hospitalizations for staff is down more than 13%
  • While the impacts of the virus continue to show a downward trend in terms of statewide impact, the comparison of how the virus effects those with I/DD continues to be illuminating when compared to the general public:  
    Overall, individuals served contract the virus at 4x the rate of the general population and suffer fatalities at 2.46x the rate of the general population.
    If we look at just the 5 Boroughs, individuals contract the virus at 5.6x the rate of the general population in NYC and suffer fatalities at over 2.05x the rate of the general population.
Additional Return to Work Toolkits
Below are additional toolkits and guidance about returning to work considerations.  These supplement the guidance and kits previously shared in our May 13 Update.  
  1. Practice and Policy Considerations in Advance of Return to Work Rose & Kiernan - This infographic provides five considerations employers should think about before reopening their businesses.
  2. PPP Guidance for Employees Refusing to Return to Work The Small Business Administration (SBA) - This new guidance from the SBA concerns employees who refuse to return to work after a business reopens.
  3. Updating the Office - Rose & Kiernan - Offices can be designed in a way that promotes social distancing and reduces the number of multi-touch surfaces to help reduce transmission of COVID-19. Learn more with this poster.
  4. Return to Work Action Plan - Rose & Kiernan - This guide can be used as a tool to create a return to work action plan in preparation for reopening a business. Please note that it follows health and safety guidance laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OSHA, but does not account for state, local or industry-specific guidance related to COVID-19.
  5. Returning to Work Post-Coronavirus Toolkit - The O'Connor Group -  A resource about re-entering the office environment.
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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