Today, July 9, 2021 the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) held a webinar to provide guidance for HCBS providers regarding on-going infection control and mitigation strategies. This PowerPoint presentation was reviewed during the webinar.
ODP no longer intends to issue updated written guidance to providers and instead is directing providers to the CDC website, and to PA Department of Health, for on-going guidance. The CDC now has specific guidelines for Direct Service Providers that applies to service providers in the HCBS system.
While CDC guidance is broad based, PA Department of Health guidelines may have more specific guidance based upon conditions in PA. Therefore, if there are differences in the policies, PA DOH guidance should be followed. Providers should frequently check these websites for updates.
The guidance provided by the CDC and the DOH are considered recommendations, not requirements, and each provider is charged with developing their own policies. ODP urges providers to consider all aspects of their service circumstances when developing their policies, including who is participating, where are the services provided, are those involved vaccinated, are the participants coming from various settings where they are exposed to others, etc. Policies must be clearly communicated to participants, families, and employees.
Providers may NOT refuse visitation by families (although specific guidelines such as limits to amount of people, length of time, etc. may be instituted), Department staff, including licensing and other regional office staff, Administrative Entity staff, and Supports Coordinators conducting individual monitoring. Access for inspections, investigations and individual monitoring may not be denied.