3/30/20 OPWDD Update -Waivers, Respite, Triage

On today’s OPWDD COVID-19 update, the following issues were covered – we’re sorry to report that there was not a lot of new information offered:

  1. Waiver Update – Retainer day payment for day hab for 30 days (until Apr. 17); developing an enhanced residential service for people in certified settings for daytime supports; COVID-19 response service, community based services to support people and families; looking at temporary emergency respite initiative.  Still in negotiations with CMS.
  2. Abiba Kindo presented the temporary emergency respite opportunities that they will be “standing up” in mostly downstate communities.   They will be sending out a response form to gather information on people who might be in need of this service, particularly people in a hospital who might be appropriate for this “step down” service. The regional office document has more information and contact information about who might be eligible for this service.  Providers asked for county by county need and the criteria OPWDD is using in making approvals.  Guidance document will be sent out this evening.
  3. Commissioner Kastner welcomed families and stated their goal is to protect the safety of people enrolled in our program, the staff and families.  Explained closure of day programs and implementation of visitation policies, leaving many people disconnected and shortages in DSPs.  He repeated once again that they follow DOH’s lead on policy and tailor it to our system.   Asked for their understanding and support. Blah, blah, blah.  When asked about the triaging of resources, where will the I/DD community stand in decisions made care and resources used for people with I/DD?  Roger Beardon responded that there are procedural protections built into the legal system to ensure care for people with disabilities, missing the point of the question – what will OPWDD do to prevent discriminatory decisions in health care resource allocation.
  4. Resources for people with I/DD and families:  there’s a new web site that is intended to be more accessible and they are working on a new list serve.
  5. Budget Update – Kevin Valenchis offered that the State’s budget focus has been to negotiate provisions that have sign off on fiscally – no additional resources added for next year and there will be a status quo budget.  Things are still being negotiated and details can change.  Expectation is that the budget will be passed on time, i.e., by April 1.

Given that not much happened on today’s call, we will hold the next call for Affiliates on Thursday, April 2 at 9 a.m. with hopes that there will be information helpful to you.

To participate in the next call, please dial:



Passcode:  489140#