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 info@childrensleague.org to be added to our listservs and to receive call-in information for our weekly Coronavirus virtual meetings. 

 

Resources-

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 info@childrensleague.org 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’

 

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 info@childrensleague.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 info@childrensleague.org for a summary or members can attend our weekly calls 
    • Other EOHHS calls will be scheduled in the coming days and weeks
  • 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. 

 

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Organizational Resources (for Human Resources): 

 

Emergency Funding Resources (for Providers, Advocates, & Child Related Nonprofits):

 

Family Resources (For Providers and Advocates to share with children, youth, & families):