April 27, 2020

FAQ Regarding Coronavirus Impact on Community Services for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

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FrequentlyAsked Questions Regarding Coronavirus Impact on Community Services for

Peoplewith Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

April 14, 2020


Howhave people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) living in communitysettings been impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Likeother populations such as seniors, Veterans and prison inmates living incongregate settings, people with I/DD living in both community andstate-operated settings have been impacted by the Coronavirus.  To date, we have the following reported positivecases:

  • 63confirmed cases in Community Integrated Living Arrangement (24/7 group home) settings
  • 24confirmed cases in Intermediate Care Facilities for Developmentally Disabled(24/7 facility) settings
  • 159confirmed cases in State Operated Developmental Center (state-run institutions)settings

Wehave reported 10 deaths in CILA/ICFDD settings and 2 deaths in SODC settings.


Whathas the state done to assist community organizations serving people with I/DD?

DHShas taken several proactive measures to support community organizations servingpeople with I/DD including:

  • SuspendingCommunity Day Service (CDS) programming on 3/17/20 to limit exposure andcontact.  DHS committed to financiallysupporting CDS programs so that they will remain whole and be able to reopenupon determination by the state.  
  • On3/30/20, DHS announced an approximate 20% increase in CILA reimbursement toaccount for additional in-home staffing during the stay-at-home period; asimilar increase was announced by HFS for ICFDD settings.  
  • On4/10/20, DHS announced an additional 10% increase to CILA rates to account foradded expenses associated with increased staffing.  HFS has not yet announced a similar increasefor ICFDD community settings but we understand efforts are underway to comparablyincrease rates.

DoI/DD community organizations have access to Personal Protective Equipment(PPE)?

I/DDcommunity organizations, like many other essential services are struggling to acquirean adequate inventory of PPE items such as masks, gloves, face shields, gownsand hand sanitizer.  Given the inabilityof many people with I/DD to independently practice precautionary measures suchas frequent hand-washing, properly covering face when sneezing and socialdistancing, the need for PPE among staff who work directly with people withI/DD is intensified.  

  • DHSconducted a PPE Needs Survey among all DHS community partners but this has notyet resulted in widespread distribution of PPE items.  
  • StatewideAssociations have been working in partnership to secure and disseminate PPEitems, although this effort has not adequately addressed statewide need.


Isthere adequate access to testing for people living and working in I/DDcommunity settings?


  • Widespreadtesting is reported to be challenging in most parts of the state, resulting inthe frontline workforce within I/DD organizations having to put their ownsafety and health at risk.  
  • Manyorganizations report that residents displaying possible COVID-19 symptoms arenot referred or approved for testing, putting every person living and workingin a setting, as well as every person they come into contact with outside ofthe setting, at risk.


Whatit is the financial impact on I/DD community organizations?

ManyI/DD organizations report having significantly higher payroll expenses due to needingto pay higher wages, bonuses and adapting staffing plans in order to retain anadequate workforce.  

  • Organizationsare calculating the increased staffing expense associated with the pandemic to evaluatethe overall fiscal impact.  In caseswhere organizations have converted from a shift-staff to live-in model toreduce exposure, weekly staffing expenses are reported to be up to 2x greater.  
  • Thisalong with the expense associated with PPE purchase, increased food costs and comfortmeasures for staff and clients quarantined in CILA settings is having asignificant impact on community organizations’ already strained budgets.


Whatadditional actions would most benefit community organizations serving peoplewith I/DD?

Thepositive steps initiated by the state to help financially offset the increasedexpenses associated with the Coronavirus pandemic have been welcome and helpful.  

  • Asis widely understood, community I/DD organizations have struggled to recruitand retain an adequate direct support workforce for much of the past decade.  
  • Continuingthe current rate structure beyond the pandemic period to enable organizationsto pay competitive wages and adequately cover operating expenses is anessential step forward in stabilizing the community I/DD system.  


Contacts:                 KathyCarmody, Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities



                               Laura Anderson, WinningSystems Inc.




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