CLM has been a constant advocate for physical and behavioral health for children, especially those involved with the state. With the increasing spread of Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19), we all committed to minimizing risk to children and the human service staff that are providing home, community, and congregate care services.
Of particular concern to CLM is addressing the particular needs of CLM members that have residential and group homes for children. Many of the current safety recommendations around Coronavirus, such as self-isolation and staying home if you’re sick, are not feasible for programs that house multiple children & require 24/7 staffing.
We have outlined steps CLM is taking in the immediate, as well as provided a list of trusted resources. If you have questions, concerns, resources, or would like to coordinate on this issue, please contact a member of CLM’s staff.
Our Coronavirus Advocacy
Updated as of 3/18/2020
CLM is currently pressing our state partners to provide additional guidance, resources, and flexibility to child welfare providers during this public health crisis. Last week (March 8-14th), as part of our work with The Collaborative, CLM was able to accomplish:
- Working with state to issue guidance on congregate care and other services, which are now provided in the resource section below.
- Weekly calls between EOHHS and The Collaborative to support a coordinated Coronavirus response, as well as address our members’ ongoing concerns around health protocols and reimbursements.
- Direct calls between EOHHS and health & human service providers (schedule listed in resource section below)
CLM is also communicating with our associates at other child-welfare advocacy organizations across the country to share and learn information to integrate into our advocacy with the state and to expand knowledge to our members, other child-welfare providers, and the public at-large.
Finally, CLM is actively communicating with our members to inform and enhance our advocacy efforts so that Coronavirus does not impede our members’ ability to provide critical child-welfare services but also enhances safety to clients and staff. We’re fostering these conversations through:
- Weekly Coronavirus Virtual Meetings
- Fridays from 8:30-9:30am from now until April 17th
- Forum for CLM members and staff to share resources and collect information about state, advocacy, and providers’ responses and guidance on the Coronavirus, including supply and program costs related to adhering to emergency response.
- Regular email updates with provider specific information and guidance on Coronavirus.
If you are a CLM member, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our listservs and to receive call-in information for our weekly Coronavirus virtual meetings.
Updated as of 3/25/2020
Trusted Information Sources:
- World Health Organization (WHO) – Provides high-level, global updates.
- Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) – Provides high-level, national updates.
- MA Department of Public Health – Provides high-level, state updates.
- MA – The state has launched a new coronavirus text message alert system. People can text “COVIDMA” to 888777 to sign up.
- 211- Call 211 if you need assistance with services and resources in your local community, including people that need financial or other assistance as the result of lost wages from event cancellations, business closures, and quarantines.
Service Guidance (for Child Welfare Providers)
- Executive Order- COVID-19 Essential Services (MA Governor’s Office)
- Governor Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Tuesday, April 7th at noon.
- Essential child-service staff should carry their documents while traveling to and from work. Executive staff of child welfare organizations can contact CLM for copies of what their organization should be issuing for essential staff. Contact email@example.com for this resource.
- Background Record Check Guidance (MA EEC)
- Frequently Asked Questions (3/22/2020)
- Congregate Care & Residential Guidance -guidance for MA organizations that operate congregate care programs. This audience includes group homes and residential treatment programs funded, operated, licensed, and/or regulated by the state.
- Community Day Program Guidance (MA EOHHS) – guidance for MA organizations that have community day programs.
- Executive Order Banning Gatherings Over 25 people (MA Executive Office) – Applies to any meeting or conference at your organization from March 17th until April 6th.
- Foster Parents Letter (MA Executive Office) – Guidance for foster parents on responding to and caring for foster children during COVID19.
- Guidance for Clinicians on patient management (CDC)- Interim guidance for clinicians caring for patients with confirmed infection.
- Guidance for Prevention & Control in Healthcare Settings (CDC)- This interim guidance for healthcare organizations for mitigating and preventing COVID-19 in your organization. Document has been updated based on currently available information about COVID-19 and the current situation in the United States, which includes reports of cases of community transmission, infections identified in healthcare personnel (HCP), and shortages of facemasks, N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) (commonly known as N95 respirators), and gowns.
- In-Home Care Services Guidance (MA EOHHS)- guidance for MA organizations that provide in-home care services to members of the community.
- Support & Stabilization Services Guidance (MA DCF)- guidance for MA organizations that provide support and stabilization services.
- Review your emergency business continuity plan and update, if necessary. (The Collaborative)
- Steps Healthcare Facilities Can Take Now to Prepare for Coronavirus (CDC)- Cheat sheet on best practices around preparing for Coronavirus and communicating and protecting your patients and workforce
Anticipated Forthcoming Service Guidance
- None expected at this time
Service Guidance from Other States’
- As providers and MA state agencies are determining official guidance, we hope these resources from other states may be useful in determining your organizations’ approach in the interim.
- Documents are not service specific but general best practices an guidance around home visits from each state’s department related to child welfare.
- NY OCFS Guidance for Providers
- RI DCYS Guidance for Providers
- NJ DCF Guidance for Providers
Insurance & Billing Guidance (for Providers)
- Financial Relief Guidance (MA EOHHS)- The state has sent guidance directly from contracting agencies to provider agencies the week of 3/24. CLM has additionally sent our breakdown to member executives about what this first round of financial relief, focusing on congregate care and community based services, means for providers.
- MassHealth Bulletin regarding Coverage and Reimbursement for Services Related to Coronavirus Disease
- The Department of Public Health has instructed insurance companies to take the following actions:
- All commercial insurers, self-insured plans, and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services related to COVID-19 testing and treatment.
- Insurers must do this without requiring cost-sharing of any kind – such as co-pays and coinsurance – for testing and treatment.
- Additionally, insurers cannot require prior authorization for these services.
- All commercial insurers and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services in the same manner they cover in-person services. (Unemployment Services Trust)
Organizational Resources (for Providers)
- DCF Central Region Org Charts & Phone Extensions (Central, North Central, South Central, North Worcester, South Worcester)
- If you are a provider that needs help contacting a staff member of a DCF central office please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of this document
- Direct Calls with EOHHS
- Congregate Care Services Call- held on 3/18
- If you were unable to attend, please contact email@example.com for a summary or members can attend our weekly calls
- Other EOHHS calls will be scheduled in the coming days and weeks
- Congregate Care Services Call- held on 3/18
- If you are having challenges with staffing rations and/or other program requirements during this time, please call or email BOTH the licensing agency AND the contracting agency. EEC emphasized they are working closely with contracted agencies to ensure consistent communication and expectations.
Organizational Resources (for Human Resources):
- Webinar Recording: COVID-19 HR Guidance & Best Practices (Unemployment Services Trust)
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Unemployment Services Trust)
- Sample Emergency Family and Medical Leave Policy (Unemployment Services Trust)
- Sample Emergency Paid Sick Leave Policy (Unemployment Services Trust)
- Federal and Select State Resources (Unemployment Services Trust)
- Telecommuting Checklist (Unemployment Services Trust)
- Sample Work from Home Policy (Unemployment Services Trust)
- Furlough Letter Template (COVID-19) (Unemployment Services Trust)
- Blog: When Business Threats are Contagious (Unemployment Services Trust)
Emergency Funding Resources (for Providers, Advocates, & Child Related Nonprofits):
- SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus (Unemployment Services Trust)
- Boston Foundation- the COVID-19 Response Fund will award one-time operating grants on a rolling basis to nonprofits, within the Foundation’s geographic catchment area, whose operations address the basic needs of vulnerable populations that are under additional strain due to the pandemic.
- Massachusetts Nonprofit Network – Coronavirus and Massachusetts Nonprofits
- Philanthropy Massachusetts – Funding and Resources in Response to COVID-19
- The Boston Foundation – Other COVID-19 Response Funds
Family Resources (For Providers and Advocates to share with children, youth, & families):