COVID-19 Update
May 22, 2020

The Arc New York Governance Webinar Materials 
On Wednesday, May 20, Dr. John Kowalczyk, President of The Arc New York hosted a panel discussion via webinar to discuss the Organization's Governance following the COVID-19 pandemic. A recording of the webinar can be viewed here, and the presentation slides can be found here
EEOC Guidance Regarding COVID
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has a number of resources related to COVID-19 available hereTwo notable resources include an FAQ on navigating considerations regarding the ADA, Rehabilitation Act and other related laws, and "Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act." There is also a webinar available addressing additional questions.
iV4 Return to Work Toolkit and Presentation 
Every department plays a role in making the return to work after COVID a smooth and safe transition. iV4 created  Return to Work Checklist, which  breaks down what needs to be considered from an IT, cybersecurity, workplace, and business continuity perspective.
OPWDD Message Regarding Visitation 
On Wednesday, OPWDD Commissioner Ted Kastner, M.D. sent a communication related to visitation restrictions moving forward, and encouraging safe options for connecting with love ones. The message can be found  here   
New CDC Guidance on Reopening Specific Settings - Schools, Camps, Day Care 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released  guidance related to re-opening a variety of settings, including schools, day cares and camps. See Appendix F on page 40 for specific guidance about childcare programs. All Chapters should familiarize themselves with the guidance as it relates to programs you operate.
Rockland Sample Polices & Practices for New Transfers and Return from Home 
The Arc Rockland has graciously shared its guidance and policies related to new admissions and return to programs for the people the Chapter serves. Download the document  here and feel free to use as needed. Thank you to Carmine and his team!

Justice Center Investigation Procedures
With the continued emphasis on infection control and prevention procedures, several questions have arisen about Justice Center investigations. Specifically, what adjustments would the Justice Center investigators make to their investigation processes in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

We have had several conversations with Justice Center senior leadership about investigation practices. Here is what the Justice Center shared.

The Justice Center plans to use remote technology to interview staff and individuals receiving services when we deem it is appropriate to do so.  We expect that for non-state operated settings we will be able to work with providers to use remote interviewing in the majority of our cases.  However, there will be times where we need to come to a facility to do interviews or collect evidence. We will work with the providers to let them know when we need to come on-site.   The Justice Center will be requiring our staff to follow all screening protocols that your providers have in place. In addition, we will be screening our staff before they leave their homes or our office to come out for a visit. Justice Center staff will be required to wear surgical masks and sanitize their hands prior to entering a facility.

Please reach out to the State Office if you have any challenges with Justice Center or OPWDD investigators.

NYS DOH Revised Hospital Visitation Guidance and Pilot Visitation Program
The New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) published a revision to their April 10, 2020 guidance on hospital visitation. This guidance has been replaced with the May 20, 2020 " Health Advisory: COVID-19 Updated Guidance for Hospital Operators Regarding Visitation." 
The revised document reiterates the allowance for support staff to be present for hospital patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.  

The revised document adds a question and answer section. This section clarifies that the NYS DOH "considers any patient with an intellectual and/or developmental disability, or with a cognitive impairment, including dementia, as having a condition for with a support person is essential to the care of the patient."
The Q &A also allows hospitals flexibility in the number of support staff that may be present at a single time (a maximum of two).

Chapters should review this document closely and share with all staff who are responsible for care of an individual supported during hospitalization.

NYS DOH is also instituting a Pilot Hospital Visitation Program beginning May 26. The program is described in detail in the NYS DOH "Informational Message: COVID-19 Pilot Hospital Visitation Program" memo.

OPWDD COVID-19 Impact Data
On Wednesday, May 21, OPWDD shared their latest COVID-19 Impact data with the Provider Association. The summary they shared is below:
  • 2611 confirmed positives
  • of which 2148 certified residential
  • 392 deaths
  • 90% of deaths from certified residential
  • 83% over age 50
  • 61% male/39% female
  • 80% having one or more comorbidities
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