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Sixty-Fourth

Community Health

Advisory Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Weekly Message from the Executive Director



By the Numbers



We finally get to report no consumers tested positive for COVID-19 this week. It's been about a year since we could report this, and given California is reporting the third lowest transmission levels in the nation, behind only Vermont and South Dakota, it sure sounds like we're turning the corner. According to the Los Angeles Times, only 5 states (Colorado, Wyoming, Florida, Washington and Utah) are identified as "Substantial". Speaking of substantial rating, our Stanislaus County rating just reached the Orange level meaning all of our counties are out of the substantial level. 


 

June 15th


So on June 15th will everything magically change for the regional center and our community? Yes, and no. The Governor has stated that vaccinated people will be able to go throughout the community, especially outdoors, without wearing a mask and not having to do the social distancing. However, he also said some workplaces may have different rules that are governed by Cal/OSHA or industry licensing etc. In fact, this last Wednesday, the Cal/OSHA Board pulled back a ruling that they put in place only a week prior. While this may seem odd, the action gives them time to try and align the Cal/OSHA policy with the state's public health department and the CDC, but due to public notice laws it can't consider changes until its June 17th meeting. Even then, additional public notice time is required, making it more likely nothing will change for workplaces until July (for more on this).    

 


VMRC and June 15th


First, to settle down all the rumors, nothing changes regarding our return to the building policy on June 15th. Our current practice of social distancing, mask wearing, one-way directional hallways, entries and exits, hand sanitizers, temperature taking, contact tracing, vaccination information, access, and encouragement, testing, working from home, and safety protocols for face-to-face meetings all still apply.

 

Next week we will meet with our managers to review proposed changes to our “Return to the Buildings” policy because most of the current plan centers on the tier system in the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy”, which we anticipate the governor rescinding. After we receive feedback from managers, we'll adjust and then meet with our staff to review the new proposal and take more feedback. By July 1st, or shortly after that, we will begin the new plan in our office. Our plan has a continuous and gradual phase in of the density of people in the building increasing from July 1st through December 2021. Each week or two after July 1st we will introduce new policies that help us fully transition back to full operations, including the reopening of our regional center building making, it once again a central meeting place and hub for gathering our community. 


 

More on the State Budget


There are so many exciting proposals and developments occurring daily regarding our state's budget commitment to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Last week we heard from many of you who called the Governor's office in support of budget proposals to increase the provider rates and decrease the regional center caseload ratios. Thank you to all who called, and if you haven't yet, there is still time to let him know your thoughts and opinions about these and other issues: You can call his office at 916-445-2841 to let him know why you feel that fully funding service providers and reducing caseloads is important to you.

 

While these are the major issues of the day right now, there are several significant proposals the Governor has right now for improving our state health and human services infrastructure. See the:


Health and Human Services Chapter of the California Comeback Plan) and the:


American Rescue Plan for bolstering it further with about 25 specific proposals to support the California Developmental Services system, including (compiled by the Association of Regional Center Agencies):

 

Workforce - DSPs

·        $135 million $215 total fund through March 2024

·        Recruitment and retention $500 recruitment incentives, DSP receive additional $500 after completing the training.

·        Implicit Bias Training to all regional center staff and service providers

·        Additional 42 navigators

 

HCBS Navigations

·        $5.6 mil a navigation portal, developmental services and generic services would be accessible here.

 

Transitions

·        $150 mil total fund

·        $100 mil for affordable housing (set asides and carve outs) by March 2024.

·        $50 for housing stipends and rental assistance (1st last month’s rent)

 

Services Models of Care

·        FHA $61.7 total $37 mil enhance fed funding.

·        This is a pass through to the providers directly.

·        DDS interested in wanting to leverage.

·        Coordinated Family Support $75 million total funds $125 million. This is a similar service to SLS but for an adult living with their family.

·        Re-imaging work opportunity programs as a pathway forward to employment and paid internships

·        Enhance community integration for children and adolescents in their communities. Multiyear $50 million total fund

·        $10 million in addition to deaf specialist for communication assessments and training to regional centers to understand the assessments.

 

Infrastructure and Support Category

Total funds $181.8 million

·        $45 mil for accelerating the SC recruitment and training 400 SCs in BY and 400+ the next year.

·        Transformational changes regarding consumer experiences

·        Modernizing the IT systems in RC and building $70 mil for UFS

·        $50 Mil for the client case management system

·        Org Change Management - DDS and regional centers

·        Person-Centered Planning - comprehensive plans 1500 people

·        Support development for community resource development

·        First responder training, pathways for employment, anything that promote inclusion.

·        Ombudsman regarding the appeals process.

 


Help Spread the Word about the National DSP Workforce COVID-19 Study Survey



Our friends at the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals have asked us to help spread the word about the latest DSP survey about providing support during the pandemic. "The Institute on Community Integration at The University of Minnesota and the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) are conducting a 12-month follow-up survey (the last of three DSP and COVID-19 Surveys) for our national DSP Workforce COVID-19 study. We really need your help in reaching DSPs in California. If we have at least 200 completed surveys we can create a two-page, state-specific report for California in addition to the longer national report.  Please share this survey link with direct support professionals and with your colleagues who are service providers: It does not matter if a DSP has or has not completed one of the earlier surveys. We encourage all DSPs to complete this 12-month follow-up and have their voices heard. The survey closes on July 1, 2021." Here is a link to the results from their first two DSP/COVID-19 surveys




Tony Anderson

Executive Director

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Case Management Update - Children



First 5 Helps to Launch First Partner's Summer Book Club on June 7th; Promo Starts May 26th



First 5 Association is joining First 5 CA and the State Library in helping to launch the First Partner's Summer Book Club, which will launch on June 7th.  

 

The new 10-week initiative by California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom will help promote children’s literacy and participation in summer reading programs hosted by local libraries throughout the state. It will include a book reading by the First Partner or a special guest that will go live every Monday on the California Governor’s YouTube Channel, starting June 7 and ending August 2nd.

Books in the series are meant for children ages 3-12, and teach important social and emotional learning tools and key values, like diversity, self-love and acceptance. They include: 


  • Eyes that Kiss in the Corner: a New York Times Bestseller in which a young protagonist notices things she has in common with her mother, sister, and amah, and sees her beauty reflected in those connections.


  • Outside Inside: a book exploring the changes the world experienced during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, both outside and inside.




From The Blog: The Manifesto for Race Equity and Parent Leadership in Early Childhood Systems


The Center for the Study of Social Policy offers in this document five “Core Commitments” for early childhood systems along with strategies on how to implement each. This resource is available in both English and Spanish here.  



Announcement from the Infant Development Association of California


We received this update from one of our Early Start partners about a collection of resources that they have posted regarding COVID-19 protocols for in-person visits. They include a questionnaire, screening procedures, and presentation materials. They are available in English and Spanish at this link here. 


  

From the Early Start CSPD Team at WestEd


As our program year winds down and we look forward to the summer, we’d like to thank you all for joining us for the Early Start Online courses and webinars... and for making creative shifts in service delivery to continue providing early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and delays and their families during the pandemic. You make a difference! We hope you are looking forward to some relaxation and fun over summer breaks. Please watch the Neighborhood and your email inbox for announcements about Early Start training opportunities for the 2021/22 program year. Visit the Early Start Neighborhood at:


https://earlystartneighborhood.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network



 

Tara Sisemore-Hester

Director of Consumer Services- Children

Case Management Update - Adults



Supplemental Security Income Information by the Kaiser Family Foundation


The federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides a cash payment to serve as a minimum level of income for people who have low incomes and limited assets and meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) strict rules that define disability. The maximum federal SSI benefit is less than the federal poverty level (FPL), $794 per month or about 74% FPL for an individual, in 2021. As a result of the SSA’s strict disability determination rules, not all people with disabilities qualify for SSI. States generally must provide Medicaid to people who receive SSI. This issue brief describes key characteristics of SSI enrollees, explains the SSI eligibility criteria and eligibility determination process, and considers the implications of changes in the SSI program for Medicaid, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn and proposals supported by President Biden that Congress might consider. Key findings include the following:

 

Working people with disabilities experience disproportionate job loss during economic downturns compared to workers without disabilities, and SSI applications generally increase when the unemployment rate increases.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented additional challenges not present during other economic downturns, such as the closure of SSA offices due to social distancing measures.

 

People in households where someone experienced a job or income loss were more than three times as likely to have applied or attempted to apply for SSI during the pandemic, or plan to apply in the next 12 months, compared to those in households without job or income loss.

 

Because SSI eligibility generally is a pathway for Medicaid eligibility, changes that affect the ability of people with disabilities to obtain or retain SSI also can affect the ability of people with disabilities to access Medicaid.

 

The impact of COVID-19 on the SSI program is not yet fully known. For more information please refer to the article: 


https://www.kff.org/report-section/supplemental-security-income-for-people-with-disabilities-implications-for-medicaid-issue-brief/

 



The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Shares Information about a SCAM


Several people have received calls from a person who is misrepresenting himself as Sergeant Jody Towers from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.

 

This person sounds professional and explains the need to go over legal paperwork. He goes as far as providing the callers with a made-up badge number. He then tells the callers about a missing court date and having outstanding warrants for their arrest unless a large amount of money is paid. He directs the person to travel in the direction of our office to make the payments in cash only, and the person is not allowed to get off the phone or additional charges will be added.

 

Please, please, please, do not fall for this fraud call!!



 

Emergency Housing Voucher for San Joaquin County


The Housing Authority County of San Joaquin will soon receive an award of 232 Emergency Housing Vouchers. If your family is experiencing the following:

 

1)     Homelessness, or


2)     At risk of experiencing homelessness, or


3)     Fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, or



4)     Were recently homeless and for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the family’s homelessness or having high risk of instability

 

You should call 2-1-1 to begin the pre-screening process. To access 211, just dial 2-1-1 from a telephone.

Mountain County Transition Fair Winner

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Katie K won a fun turquoise backpack for attending the Mountain Counties Transition Fair. Thanks Katie for joining us!!



Christine Couch (she, her, hers)

Director of Consumer Services - Adults

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Clinical Update



COVID-19 in Adolescents


The need for continued COVID-19 safety precautions is one of the main recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They released their findings that there are more adolescents who were hospitalized due to COVID-19 during March to April of this year, one third of which required intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and 5% required respiratory support such as invasive mechanical ventilation.[1] Part of the safety precautions CDC mentioned is vaccination. All the more reason why VMRC continued to have COVID-19 vaccine clinics.


[1] CDC. June 04, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7023e1.htm



Community Partnership Works!


The indoor vaccine clinic at the Modesto office last June 4th helped a total of 62 individuals. They will be back for their second dose on June 25th. There will be another Drive-thru vaccine clinic at the Stockton office on June 15th giving second doses. The vaccine clinics are made possible because of the tireless efforts of our volunteers who show up on each of these vaccine clinics. Enormous “THANKS!!!” to our volunteers: VMRC staff, Board of Directors, and community partners: DRAIL, B.E.S.T., SCDD North Valley Hills Office, FRN, SAC6, DRC, UCP, ICC, CLASP, Therapeutic Pathways, Valley CAPS, Gamaliel of California and Fuerzas Unidas, who helped make it possible. As always, VMRC is grateful to Safeway Pharmacy (Albertson’s Companies) and their staff who served as our vaccine provider and partnered with us during the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics at our VMRC Offices! 

SANDIS COVID-19 Tracking Data:

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Healthy People 2030 has included Health Literacy as one of its focus in order to help people in the community understand in plain language and clear communication the aspects of their health, and therefore make adequate informed decisions about their own health.[1] This new focus will also help agencies and organizations in utilizing clear and accurate language when making health-related information dissemination to the rest of the community.2,[2],[3]


Please continue to stay safe and healthy.



Claire B. Lazaro, MSN, RN, NP, PHN, FNP-C

Director of Clinical Services



[1] Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. March 12, 2021. https://journals.lww.com/jphmp/Abstract/9000/Updating_Health_Literacy_for_Healthy_People_2030_.99188.aspx

[2] CDC. May 19, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/learn/index.html?ACSTrackingID=USCDC_501-DM58638&ACSTrackingLabel=How%20Language%20Evolves&deliveryName=USCDC_501-DM58638#wnd

[3] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2010). National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. Washington, DC: Author. https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Health_Literacy_Action_Plan.pdf

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Tips for Caregivers for Vaccination Day


Age 12+ Consumers- VMRC Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinic


Stockton 2nd Dose


What to Expect at the VMRC Vaccination Clinic:


• Upon arrival the driver of the vehicle will be asked to check-in and if those getting the vaccine have

pre-registered.

• You will be asked to provide the first and last name of those in the vehicle who will be getting the

vaccine, identification, proof of age, CDC Vaccination Card from First Dose, and possibly insurance or

Medi-Cal information.

• If you have not completed a consent form you will be asked to pull your vehicle to the side and

complete before being directed back into the vehicle line.

• Once check-in is complete, including providing/completing the consent form, you will wait in your

vehicle before being directed to a tent with an available Pharmacist to administer the vaccine. The wait

may take 5-10 minutes depending on your appointment time.

• When it is your turn, you will drive to the vaccination tent and a Pharmacist will take your vaccination

consent form and CDC Vaccination Card through the window of your vehicle.

• The Pharmacist will retain your vaccination consent form and give back the CDC Vaccination Card for

your records.

• If there are multiple individuals in the vehicle getting the vaccine, you will be asked who wants to be

first.

• If there are multiple consumers in the vehicle getting the vaccine, we ask that you identify any

consumer that has had history of behavioral issues during medical procedures, or may be less receptive

to vaccine administration, so the vaccine can be administered to them first.

o Note: It may be beneficial to schedule separate appointments for these consumers with a

reduced number of individuals in the vehicle.

• The Pharmacist will have you roll down the window where the consumer is seated and will then

approach the vehicle with the vaccination needle, bandage, and cotton swab with alcohol for sterilizing

the injection site.

• The Pharmacist will ask in which arm the consumer would like the vaccine and ask them to roll their

sleeve up, if necessary.

• Through the rolled down window, the Pharmacist will sterilize the area with the swab, place a

bandage, and administer the vaccine.

• Once the vaccine is administered, the driver will be directed to an empty parking spot and asked to

wait 15 minutes to confirm there are no adverse reactions to the vaccine.

o Note: The Pharmacist may ask you to wait up to 30 minutes, depending on medical history.



How to prepare for Vaccination Day


• Preregister for the vaccine clinic and complete a vaccination consent form

• Plan to have the consumer dressed in clothing that makes vaccine administration quicker and easier.

o Examples: Tank top where sleeve doesn’t have to be rolled up or t-shirt that can be quickly

rolled up prior to administration.

o Note: Sweaters, zip up hoodies, and long sleeves make administration more difficult and could

lengthen the process.

• If the consumer benefits from social stories, please create and use a social story the days leading up to

Vaccination Day.

• Bring preferred items in the vehicle to aide in distracting/redirecting attention away from needle

during vaccine administration.

o Examples: Favorite videos/movies on tablet device, headphones, toys, or manipulative items

that can be held in hands (ex: play-doh, fidget spinners, sticker books), favorite snack or treat

that can be opened and consumed during vaccine administration.

• Bring activities to occupy time during waiting periods.

• If the consumer is known to have issues with compliance during medical appointments, or you suspect

potential non-compliance during administration, try to have an additional family member or familiar

individual sit in the back seat next to the consumer to assist with prompting and redirecting.

• If the consumer can tolerate outings of longer durations, plan a preferred destination for after

successful vaccine administration.

o Examples: Favorite drive-thru restaurant, ice cream parlor, park, store, etc.

Vaccination Day Considerations:

• Have CDC Vaccination Card and completed vaccination consent form with you and easily accessible in

your vehicle (THIS WILL REDUCE YOUR WAIT TIME ONCE YOU ARRIVE TO THE VACCINE CLINIC).

• Have consumer’s preferred items loaded in vehicle prior to leaving for appointment.

• Have activities available to engage with during wait times while at the clinic.

• Have all necessary documents easily accessible upon arrival (e.g., Identification Cards, Insurance Cards,

Social Security Numbers, completed vaccination consent form, CDC Vaccination Card).

• If you are planning a special/preferred outing after successful vaccine administration, and the

consumer can tolerate delays, let them know where you will be going after the vaccine clinic.

• If possible, have the consumer seated in the backseat behind the driver.

• Have consumer dressed in tank top or t-shirt. If wearing a sweater or long sleeve, have consumer’s

shoulder easily accessible prior to check-in.

• If possible, have a preferred family member, staff, or other preferred individuals seated next to the

consumer.

• Because you will remain in a running vehicle, please utilize all safety features including safety locks,

seatbelts, or any additional safety devices typically used for transport.

• Have preferred items/activities easily accessible to use as a distraction during vaccine administration.

o As the Pharmacist approaches to administer the vaccine, prompt, and direct attention away

from the needle and toward the preferred item or activity.

• Provide verbal praise, attention, and reassurance before, during, and after the vaccination process.


Reminder: VMRC Staff, Community Volunteers, and Pharmacists administering the vaccine cannot

physically redirect, physically prompt, or physically restrain the consumer during the vaccine

administration. VMRC Staff, Community Volunteers, and Pharmacists can distract and redirect

attention from the needle during that time, but any physical touch or guidance must be provided by

family member and/or familiar individual who arrived in vehicle with the consumer.


If you have additional concerns that the consumer you are bringing to the Vaccination Clinic may

engage in problem behavior during vaccine administration, or you need further guidance on how to

prepare for Vaccination Day at the VMRC Vaccination Clinic, please contact VMRC Board Certified

Behavior Analyst, Liz Herrera Knapp, at (209) 955-3652.


Additional Resources to Prepare for Vaccination Day


https://scdd.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/04/Tips-for-Family-Advocates.pdf


https://informingfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Vaccination-Day-Tips-for-Family-Advocates-

Spanish.pdf



Liz Herrera Knapp, M.A.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

Community Services Update



Weekly Service Provider Informational Zoom Session hosted by VMRC’s Community Services Department EVERY FRIDAY at 9:00 a.m.


https://zoom.us/j/92136846701


Meeting ID: 921 3684 6701

 

 

VMRC’s Community Services Department would like to thank the following partners for their support with our recent  Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Training Workshops:


Chanel Murray and Dena Hernandez; State Council on Developmental Disabilities

North Valley Hills Office

 

Catrina Castro, Self-Advocacy Council Chair

 

Tamara Rodriguez; Department of Developmental Services

Emergency Preparedness and Response Officer

 

Vance Taylor; California Office of Emergency Services

Office of Access and Functional Needs

 

Tiffany Spiecker, M.A.

Community Crisis Home Program Administrator, Telecare Corp.

 

Coalition of Local Area Service Providers-C.L.A.S.P.


We value the ongoing partnership and look forward to continuing to provide the highest quality training to our vendor community. We would love to hear from ALL of our service providers.


What types of training would you most like to see the Quality Assurance teams provide the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year?


Please share your areas of interest with your Community Services Liaison or email Division Quality Assurance Manager , Katina Richison krichison@vmrc.net or Director of Community Services, Brian L. Bennett bbennett@vmrc.net.



Brian L. Bennett

Director Of Community Services

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North Valley Hills Update

Dena Hernandez, Regional Manager (209) 473-6930

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The Sacramento Office of Education has established a workgroup to develop an alternative diploma pathways for youth with disabilities, and we would benefit greatly from your input. The workgroup has developed a survey for gathering input from stakeholders as we work to develop the draft report. I also encourage you to share this amongst your networks. The survey will close on Monday, June 14th. The survey is available at this link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BKQZTZC

How to connect to SCDD through Social Media

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Family Resource Network Update from

Lisa Culley, Executive Director


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Project DATA

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PDF Project DATA Flyer Here

Self-Advocacy Council 6 (SAC6)

 

Weekly Virtual Chat

 

Let’s Check In with each other!



WHEN: Friday, June 11, 2021

TIME: 11:00 AM -12:15 PM

WHERE: ZOOM - computer, tablet, cell phone

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Join SAC6 to hear about staff changes at VMRC with


Tony Anderson, Executive Director

Christine Couch, Director of Consumer Services - Adults


https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82171905822?pwd=YUpvT2R0cXJmaXhWMTcyTUNtTVF2QT09


Meeting ID: 821 7190 5822

 

Passcode: 737835 (MUST ENTER PASSCODE) OR you can call in:



TOLL FREE NUMBER TO CALL IN 877 853 5257 US Toll-free


PDF Version of the SAC6 Flyer Here

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Update from the Self Determination Advisory Committee

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PDF Version of Flyer Here

Five County Data Update

as of June 10, 2021

 

San Joaquin County

·    3.8 new cases per 100,000 people and 2.0% positivity rate (Moderate/Orange....2nd Least Restrictive)

 

Stanislaus County

·    5.0 new cases per 100,000 people and 3.0% positivity rate (Moderate/Orange....2nd Least Restrictive)

 

Tuolumne County

·    2.2 new cases per 100,000 people and 1.5% positivity rate (Moderate/Orange....2nd Least Restrictive)

 

Calaveras County

·   6.5 new cases per 100,000 people and 4.3% positivity rate (Moderate/Orange....2nd Least Restrictive)

 

Amador County

·    2.2 new cases per 100,000 people and 1.7% positivity rate (Minimal/Yellow....Least Restrictive)

 

State of California

·    2.0 new cases per 100,000 people and 0.8% positivity rate

 

 

Valley Mountain Regional Center

·    746 positive consumer cases and 27 deaths

·    34 positive VMRC staff cases

·    4 positive volunteer cases

·    303 positive provider cases and 1 death


Local County, State and National Public Health Resources

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