The Arc’s COVID-19 Updates: March 16, 2020

We face this health crisis together and we are not alone. Our message to you also covers communication from the Baker administration and specifically from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Developmental Services (DDS), MassHealth, and an update on telehealth.

As you receive this message today many agencies that serve individuals with disabilities are in planning mode. You will receive emails, phone calls, or letters from the agencies serving your family member. It is most likely that any large day settings will be temporarily closed. Schools have been closed.

All of this will place additional pressures upon students, adults, families, and caregivers or direct support professionals in group settings. This message provides information and links to you. We will send out a second message this week as the situation evolves.The Arc will be advocating on behalf of our community during this difficult time

Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Communication
This message is from DDS and more information is here.
Your Area Office will remain the primary DDS point-of-contact for you regarding ongoing services and supports. Provider agencies have been directed to contact you immediately should they decide to close or alter service schedules. Area Offices will remain in contact with you to help mitigate any disruptions and ensure needed supports are addressed.

If you or your family member receives services from an agency, expect to receive information from that agency sometime this week. Most likely today the agencies are still in planning mode as the numbers of those affected by the virus increased.

At present, we expect that persons in any type of residential support will remain in place.Visitors if allowed will need to be screened.

MassHealth, Medical and other care
MassHealth has approved the following which may affect you. The most important is the availability of telehealth. Your services can be delivered via telehealth (including telephone and live video). For those on private insurance, telehealth may already be approved. You should check if you haven’t used it before. Other new developments at MassHealth include:

  1. 90-day approval of medicines is available now (most private insurers already have this type of approval).
  2. Beginning March 14, 2020, MassHealth will also allow early refills of existing prescriptions for drugs as long as at least one refill remains on the prescription.
  3. For those having difficulty with MassHealth applications, qualified hospitals will be able to determine eligibility in a quicker way – this assumes the individual or family can NOT fill out the application.

For Urgent Need

  1. Medical – your primary care
  2. Services –
    1. If DDS eligible, area office; use locator if you don’t have contact information.
    2. If not DDS eligible, contact your Independent Living Center
  3. For those receiving services through DDS, your agency will continue to be in touch with you throughout this time

Links and Other Information

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *