Archives by Month: March 2020

DODD Guidance for Providers

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, DODD has put together guidance for Providers to help you better respond and prepare in order to keep those you serve and staff safe. Read More ›

Coronavirus Information and Safety Precautions for Providers

Friday, April 3, Update:

[A message from the Superintendent]

Dear Providers,

The last several weeks have truly tested our system of care. Summit DD is proud to stand alongside our provider community as we carry out our shared priority of ensuring the health and safety of those we serve and our staff during this most unusual time. We have witnessed creativity, compassion, and sacrifice in honoring our collective commitment to keep people safe.

Two orders signed by Governor Mike DeWine have had great impact on our service coordination and delivery model. The Public Health Order to Prohibit Adult Day Support and Vocational Habilitation in Congregate Settings and the Order to Stay at Home have made it very clear that those we serve are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic emergency. Individuals should stay at home in the HPC settings unless there is an immediate impact to their health and safety, as determined by the team process.

Additionally, discussions with Summit County’s Health Commissioner, Donna Skoda, about the unique needs of individuals and variety of day and residential settings have also helped shape our local decisions. The Health Commissioner made it very clear that the community spread of COVID-19 is wide. Our congregate residential settings should be treated as familial homes and individuals who live in those homes should stay at home, as directed by the Governor and Director of Public Health. We understand that direct service staff will need to enter the homes to provide care and should do so under the directives of the CDC. Efforts such as checking temperature, washing hands, not touching your face, cleaning common surfaces will help limit the spread in a home and slow the spread in our community. DODD has developed a website with guidance for providers and families.

Summit DD will remain your partner through this and will continue to work with the DODD to ensure providers remain sustainable throughout this pandemic. Our local provider support team stands ready to support you with PPE, training, guideline interpretations, recruiting and onboarding staff, and more. We will continue to collaborate with you on this ever-changing situation.

We recognize that this pandemic also impacts day service providers as services are prohibited from being delivered in groups of 10 or more (including staff).  We have provided guidance to our SSAs that authorizations for Adult Day Support and Vocational Habilitation should only be approved when there is an immediate risk for health and safety, as determined by the team process. Our provider support team will continue to work cooperatively with these providers. There are several other ways and methods that adult day support providers can continue to serve individuals, and our provider support team is committed to collaborating with providers to help with these efforts. Summit DD will continue to operate innovatively and support DODD initiatives to ensure that our system is sustainable throughout this state of emergency.

We realize that you are on the front lines. You continue to go into individuals’ homes daily. Summit County is fortunate to have a strong provider network built on trust, innovation and collaboration. Please share my gratitude with all your employees and keep an open line of communication with our SSAs and our provider support team as we navigate through this difficult time together.  If you have additional questions please contact me at jtrunk@summitdd.org or Drew Williams at drewwilliams@summitdd.org.

Keep safe and be well.

Sincerely,

John Trunk,
Summit DD Superintendent

Tuesday, March 24, Update:

With so many of the things operating differently now, you may be hearing more questions or concerns from individuals and families about daily needs. Fortunately, there are a number of community organizations ready and willing to help. Below are a number of resources you can share with those you serve.

  • United Way’s 2-1-1 directory: For those not sure where to turn, start with United Way’s 2-1-1 information and referral service. This free and confidential service can connect people to resources like food, housing, treatment, or disaster services, among others. This valuable resource is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Simply call or text 2-1-1 from your phone.
  • Social Scripts: For many people change can be hard. Social scripts can help prepare them for these changes, let them know what to expect, and help ease anxiety. Download and share these social scripts our staff have created about the changes that COVID-19 has created around us.
    • When I have to stay home – for adults (Social Script)
    • Washing my hands for kids – (Social Script)
    • What is coronavirus? – for kids (Social Script)
  • Food pantry and food program listings: For those looking for information on food programs to supplement a household or even looking to apply for food programs, help is available. The United Way of Summit County has created an online resource to connect people to the right food service provider closest to them. Simply enter the ZIP code or city and chose from the listing that suits their need.

We will continue to update these resources for you to support those you serve.


Monday, March 23, Update:

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, has issued an order to restrict group sizes to no larger than 10 people, including the staff of the provider, within buildings where Adult Day Support and Vocational Habilitation services are provided. This order is effective at 9 PM Tuesday, March 24, 2020, and applies to all providers of Adult Day Support and Vocational Habilitation. I am including links to the DODD guidance as well as the link to frequently asked questions. The FAQ includes specific information concerning how to count the number of individuals receiving services as well as staff within a confined space and what constitutes a confined space.

The ability for Day Services to operate with reduced numbers as outlined in this guidance is not restricted by the stay-at-home order issued by Governor DeWine on Sunday March 22

If you continue to operate day services, please continue to follow established CDC guidelines for cleaning as well as maintaining appropriate social distance. In addition, expectations to access the greater community are suspended.

While this guidance allows for the operation of day services with restrictions, Summit DD fully respects and appreciates the difficult decision that many have made to close day service settings.

Please communicate with individuals receiving services as well as families concerning any changes to your open / close status.

If you decide to remain open, please confirm with me jdifranco@summitdd.org your plans to maintain an approved setting. If you decide to close, and you have not yet notified Summit DD, please notify our Provider Support Department at 330-634-8110 or e-mail providersupport@summitdd.org

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Joe DiFranco at JDiFranco@SummitDD.org with any questions, concerns or needs.


Friday, March 20, Update:

Summit DD staff will continue to provide support to individuals, families and providers using remote work capabilities, in accordance with physical distancing recommendations from County and State health officials. Public access continues to be suspended to our three locations in Tallmadge, Barberton, and Cuyahoga Falls.

We will continue to operate the Provider Support Line (330-634-8110) for providers and our MUI afterhours hotline (1-877-271-6733) to help ensure that the needs of that those we serve are being met.

We will continue to work with you to prepare for an expected shortage of Direct Support Professionals. Using local and county agencies and other communication channels, we are encouraging resident impacted by unemployment and interested in providing direct care to contact DirectSupport@SummitDD.org. Summit DD will then connect interested job seekers to providers looking to hire positions immediately.

Thursday, March 19, Update:

DODD has been monitoring the rapidly evolving Coronavirus situation and has provided the following guidance for Provider:

  • DODD guidance indicates that providers of Day Services (in addition to Group Employment, Integrated Employment and NMT) will receive two weeks of payments (in addition to payments for services that you have provided) in order to help providers maintain payroll and operational costs, give providers time to work on creative ways to continue supports and allow DODD further time to assess and develop future funding options.
  • It is widely anticipated that there will be additional guidance in the very near future that will either indicate the mandatory closure of day services or limit the structure and size in which day service may operate. We will forward this guidance as soon as it becomes available.
  • Many day service providers have already made the decision to close services and other are experiencing a significant drop in attendance so that staffing needs have been dramatically reduced. Summit DD is working to develop a framework by which day service staff who are employed by agencies which do not also provide residential services may be connected with agencies that provide residential services. This framework would emphasize that the residential agency would only utilize those day service staff from the day service-only agency until the time that the day service re-opens.
  • DODD has provided additional guidance that provides greater flexibility to provide day services in any HCBS setting and through a variety of provider relationships.

As you know the situation is quickly evolving. Community Supports and Development Senior Manager, Joe DiFranco hopes to set up a conference call early next week (the week of March 23) to discuss providers’ immediate status as well as potential ways that Summit DD can support your efforts. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Joe at JDiFranco@SummitDD.org with any questions or immediate concerns.


Sunday, March 15, Update:

On Sunday Governor DeWine announced further preventative guidelines for public spaces and gatherings. Therefore, effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Summit DD will implement a Remote Work period for staff such as Service and Support Administrators (SSAs), Referral and Support Specialists (RSSs), Developmental Specialists (DSs), Navigators, Behavioral Support SSAs, IAs, QAs, SLPs and a number of other classifications in an effort to limit the number of people gathered at the Summit DD offices.

We remain committed to the safety of staff while ensuring the continuity of services for the people we serve. While your Summit DD contact may not be in a Summit DD building, we are still open. Summit DD staff (including the MUI department) are available by phone, email or video conferencing.  These measures are not permanent and we have demonstrated that we can handle difficult situations like these when we all work together.

We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops, sometimes hourly, and adjust our responses to new guidelines. This is the best of what we know today and we will communicate as we know more. We will continue to make contingency plans for conducting all of our essential operations remotely. We encourage all providers and the community to follow recommended CDC, ODH and SCPH, guidelines and implement social distancing measures where possible.

Thank you for all you do and continuing to focus on the needs of those we serve.


Original Post Thursday, March 12:

Like many of you, Summit DD has been monitoring information and recommendations from health officials very closely.  As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve here in Ohio and across the nation, we want to do all we can to help slow the spread of the virus.

The well-being of the people we serve, staff and providers is very important to us. Sharing information with your staff and the families you serve can help slow the spread of the Coronavirus here in Summit County.

Using information from the top health experts such as, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), and the Summit County Public Health (SHPH), we put together the following recommendations to help you protect your staff and the people you serve.

Prevention: According to health experts, COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person. The CDC recommends regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Encourage staff and program participants stay home if they are sick or if someone in their home is sick.

Remind everyone to cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash, and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.

Events: Consider following ODH guidelines on mass indoor gatherings and community events. This can help lower the likelihood of transmitting the Coronavirus to others.

Cleaning Precautions: Another you can actively work to slow the spread of the Coronavirus is by following the CDC’s additional Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection recommendations. This can help limiting the survival of novel coronavirus in key environments and keep your shared spaces clean and safe for employees and those you serve.

Summit DD will continue to stay in contact with local health officials and make adjustments as more information become available. These are uncertain times, but we remain dedicated to our mission.  You can find the latest information on our website at SummitDD.org.

Additional COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources:

Below are additional resources to help you and your staff stay informed with the latest COVID-19 (Coronavirus)information.

  • Looking for Resources?

    Not sure where to start? Take a tour through our handy resources!