COVID-19 Update
October 19, 2020

The Arc New York Responds to Appendix K Waiver Amendments & Budget Cuts 
The Arc New York submitted recommendations to the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) on amendments to be proposed to The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver.  

These recommendations are based on our experiences operating under the Appendix K Waiver during the COVID-19 pandemic, and our understanding of how OPWDD utilizes 100% state aid funding that might otherwise continue to support individuals while generating federal matching funds. They identify opportunities to enhance efficiency within our system while preserving essential supports and services. 

Thanks to all who contributed to this letter. The Arc New York will continue to advocate for reasonable solutions to mitigate the challenging cuts to our programs.

Inconsistency Between OPWDD Regulations and Guidance
We have become aware of an inconsistency between existing emergency regulation and OPWDD guidance regarding the inclusion of mealtime in the program day duration.

On September 16, OPWDD promulgated emergency/proposed regulations amending Title 14, Part 635-10.5 to allow delivery of and payment for site-based prevocational, group day habilitation and supplemental group day habilitation during mealtime through October 14. The emergency regulations remain within the public comment period and are not set to expire until November 28, 2020. 

On October 5, 2020, OPWDD published a "COVID-19 Program Flexibilities" document. This document includes a matrix that notes on page 1 that the temporary allowance to include mealtimes in the program day duration continues after October 14. 

This inconsistency between the regulations and guidance raised questions about what is allowable. We contacted OPWDD's senior leadership and requested clarification on this issue as soon as possible. In the meantime, we advise that Chapters do not include mealtime within the site-based prevocational, group day habilitation and supplemental group day habilitation for dates of service after October 14. We will provide an update as soon as we hear from OPWDD. 

Capital Reimbursement Policy Update
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) issued a memo on Tuesday announcing a significant change to its Capital Reimbursement PolicyEffective January 1, 2021, providers will not be reimbursed for any Prior Property Approval costs until the Final Expenditure Report is submitted and a Property Cost Verification is processed. Additional information on the process can be found here
NYSED FAQs on Provision of Services During the 2020-21 School Year
The New York State Department of Education published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in response to questions received from providers regarding NYSED's July 2020 "Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing the Spirit of New York State Schools Guidance."

Harvard Political Review Story on COVID-19 and I/DD Congregate Care 
The Harvard Political Review published a story on October 11 examining the high of COVID-19 for people with I/DD living in congregate care settings and challenges in the field nationwide. The study released by Syracuse University on The Arc New York's collaborative data project with New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) serves as the foundation of the article, which goes on to explore various perspectives on potential reform. 

Thank you to all of our Chapters for participating in The Arc New York's COVID-19 data collection. Your responses continue to play an essential role in understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the people we support, and ongoing advocacy in response to the pandemic. 

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