COVID-19 Update
March 27, 2020

Legal Update on State and Federal Leave Laws 
Federal and state government have passed laws mandating certain leave requirements during this crisis. The Arc New York has put together a summary of state and federal leave laws relating to COVID-19. Executive Directors and HR leadership at our Chapters are strongly encouraged to review this guidance for informational purposes. This update is intended as an information source for The Arc New York Chapters. The content should not be construed as legal advice, and we encourage Chapters to seek specific legal advice for assistance specific to their situation.

Notification of Medical Professional Directive to Quarantine
Chapters are experiencing increased cases of quarantine/isolation directed by medical professionals, rather than the Local Health Department (LHD). We reached out to OPWDD's Director of Incident Management and the Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Quality Improvement (DQI) to seek clarification. OPWDD expects providers will make notifications following the process detailed in the OPWDD COVID-19 Phone Notification Requirements document whenever they become aware of a staff or individual that has been directed to quarantine/isolate by a medical professional.  This is in addition to making notifications in response to any COVID-19 related quarantine and/or isolation orders served by their LHD.

Supply Order Process Reminder
The Arc New York has secured bulk orders of N95 respirators, masks and gloves to help Chapters meet their preliminary supply needs in this crisis. 

Moving forward, OPWDD has a specific process to assist providers with requests for personal protective equipment (PPE). As a first step, Chapters should look to local sourcing methods of obtaining supplies. Secondarily, Chapters should reach out to their local Office of Emergency Management (OEM). A listing of OEMs can be found  here .
  
If  Chapters do not receive response or support from their OEM, they should send a request to OPWDD via email to  incident.management@opwdd.ny.gov. The request must include some specific information, outlined below. Most importantly, the tracking/confirmation number provided by OEM should be included in the email to OPWDD. OPWDD has the ability to view requests made to the local OEMs and this number will assist them in sorting requests.  The following is the minimum information that must be included:
  • Type and Quantity of PPE by size
  • Point of Contact at the requesting facility or system
  • Delivery location
  • Date request is needed to be filled by
  • Record of pending order (OEM tracking/confirmation number)
OPWDD is developing specific guidance on the process for requesting their support in obtaining supplies, which may include different information than the above. We will distribute this guidance once it is available.
 
Personal Protective Equipment Burn Rate Calculator
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a useful tool to plan and optimize the use of PPE for response to COVID-19, the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Burn Rate Calculator. We encourage all Chapters to use this tool to help monitor their use of PPE and determine when additional supplies will be needed. The spreadsheet includes specific instructions on how to complete entries. 

Tax-Free Payments to Employees Under Internal Revenue Code Section 139
The federal government has declared New York a major disaster area due to the coronavirus pandemic, a move that opens the door to billions of dollars in federal aid to help the state fight the virus. Part of this aid package includes tax-free qualified disaster payments under Internal Revenue Code Section 139 for New York residents. Section 139 permits employers to make tax-free payments for reasonable and necessary medical, personal, family, living or funeral expenses incurred as a result of the declared disaster.
 
At least one Chapter has asked whether foundation assets could be used to provide relief to staff ---   for example, funds to DSPs for child care expenses. With this recent disaster declaration, tax-free reimbursements are now possible. The IRS may issue guidance on this to provide additional clarity.  Whether or not the foundation is controlled, this provision could apply (even though the foundation is not the employer in these circumstances).  Please keep this in mind as an option to support your work force. More information is available  here

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.

 
CONTACT: 
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 
  • State Office Staff