March 26, 2020
- First – remember there will be a call on Friday morning – details can be found on the “Member’s Page,” but the call is open to all providers.
- Second – there continues to be considerable anxiety about our “designation” either as “essential workers” in case of more stringent restrictions imposed by the Governor or as “health care providers” who would be exempt from the FFCRA. [Oh, great! Another acronym to memorize! FFCRA = Families First Coronavirus Act!]
- On the first – we have provided input on the “definition” of essential workers to the Governor’s office, and it is mentioned on virtually every call. Essentially, we are essential for the services that are still operational (eg., residential, behavioral health services which can be done through telehealth, etc) simply because there is no alternative service/support for the more than 7,500 persons in DD Waiver Residential Care or others that we are still able to support. All this is reinforced by the Guidelines published this week by DBHDS.
- Essential, though, probably should not include most of the admin staff who can/should work from home as much as possible. However, as many of the regulatory requirements have not been “lifted” for completing plans, reviews investigations, CHRIS reports and the like, and billing, payroll and processing new hires are necessary, there may need to be “office” staff who can not complete those tasks from home.
- On the latter, we are still waiting for the Federal Department of Labor Regulations which will define “Health Care Provider;” it does seem likely though that the definition will be on an individual basis, rather than at the business level. In other words, DSPs and immediate supervisors could/would fall into that category, while the admin staff would not. We expect regulations to be available sometime next week (the law does not take effect until 2 April)
- There have been many news stories about the provisions of FFCRA [do you remember what that stands for?]; in short, there are six reasons why leave may be granted under the law; reasons #1-4 and #6 are directly related to either personal illness, self-quarantine, caring for a person who is self-quarantined or ill – all reasons why individuals should be away from work! There will be a benefit if leave (up to 80 hours) can be be used under this authority as the payment (within the parameters in the law) is immediately reimbursable.
- Reason #5 (child care for a child who is out of school because of COVD-19) is now the only one which would allow for up to 12 weeks of FMLA+; while the payment to an employee is at 2/3 of their wage and it is also immediately reimbursable through the offset of payroll deductions and there are other parameters, this is the one that brings us most concern. Please review the Q&A and Fact Sheets which are posted at:
- Third – there will be new regularly updated FAQs for DD Services (DBHDS), DD Services (DMAS), and BH Services (DMAS) in addition to the one routinely updated by DBHDS – Office of Licensing:
- Fourth – we can expect at least on more Medicaid Memo this week as well as a copy of the Application for an Appendix K for the 1915c Waiver Services.
- Fifth, even with the current COVID Chaos, there is a “parties” meeting today to discuss the status and progress on our DOJ initiatives. Given the large task involved and the short time for compliance, it just seems . . .
Lastly, we will cover the updates from the DD and BH Association calls as well as a fairly significant glitch that was caused by the 60 day extension of some of the DD Waiver Authorizations.