Interim Guidance for Community Habilitation Services Regarding COVID-19
on the implementation of Community Habilitation Services during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Chapters should take particular note of OPWDD's "Considerations About Your Agency's Services," which touches on the use of Telehealth Modalities in the delivery of Community Habilitation Services and the protocol Chapters should implement if services are delivered directly to an individual residing in the community. OPWDD clarified in Thursday's call that Community Habilitation staff do not need to be licensed to deliver the service via telehealth. Chapters should carefully consider this guidance when determining if Community Habilitation Services will be delivered. In the interim, we recommend notifying families that you request their cooperation in limiting taking their loved one out of the residence at this time, and that anyone returning will be subjected to the screening process required by OPWDD. A template letter to help Chapters communicate this request to families can be found here.
Updated Covid-19 Phone Notification Requirements for OPWDD Providers
Directive to Quarantine or Isolate by a Physician or Hospital
We received several comments that physicians and hospitals are now directing quarantine/isolation of individuals supported or staff.
that notification is required when a physician or hospital directs quarantine or isolation in addition to when the Local Health Department (LHD) directs quarantine or isolation.
Several locations that conduct fingerprinting are not operational at this time. OPWDD is aware and has had calls with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) who holds the contracts with the fingerprinting companies. They are encouraging the locations to remain open or implement alternative solutions. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.
OPWDD is also looking to address the issue of Direct Support Professionals who would like to work at additional agencies during this public emergency by waiving further background checks. They continue to seek a solution for new hires, as the requirement for fingerprinting is within statute and may take an Executive Order to provide relief.
Calendar Year 2019 CFR Filing Date Extension for OPWDD Providers
OPWDD published a memo extending the due date for OPWDD providers to submit their Consolidated Fiscal Report (CFRs) to August 1, 2020.
Waivers of HIPAA Penalties for use of Telehealth
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
that during the COVID-19 national emergency they will exercise enforcement discretion and regarding noncompliance with regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules, and will
not impose penalties
against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth. The discretion applies to telehealth provided for any reason. Covered entities may only use non-public facing remote communication products to communicate with patients. Please review the announcement closely to ensure that use of communication products conforms with the existing HIPAA Rules.
COVID-19 Cyber Scams
There have been reports of increasing cyber scams surrounding COVID-19. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published
on precautions that can be taken to avoid COVID-19 related cyber scams. Please share this guidance with your IT staff for their awareness.
Telecommuting and Cybersecurity
As many Chapters are now having employees work remotely, it is important to educate employees on practices that improve cybersecurity while at home. NYSDOH has published
on cybersecurity for telecommuting. Additionally, SANS has published a very simple
on cybersecurity when working from home, which is a great educational tool for employees.
Helping Individuals Understand COVID-19
The Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC) has developed plain language resources to help keep individuals with I/DD informed about COVID-19. The guides are available in both
. Please share this information widely to aid the people we serve in better understanding the unusual circumstances affecting their lives and how they can take steps to stay healthy and reduce transmission of COVID-19.