Background checks waived for qualified individuals

In the Governor’s most recent Executive Order, the state will allow current employees of OPWDD or OPWDD approved providers who have previously undergone background checks to be employed by a different OPWDD approved provider and/or OCFS licensed or certified program and/or OASAS certified, funded or authorized program and/or OMH licensed, funded ‘or approved program without undergoing new background checks.

These provisions are also waived to the ‘extent necessary to allow providers the discretion to permit, already qualified individuals and who are not listed on the Staff Exclusion List to work unsupervised while an updated background check is completed.

Read the entire EO here.

Information needed in the event of Article 16 Clinic closure

Good afternoon Article 16 Clinic leaders,

OPWDD expects that the VO Article 16 Clinics remain open to provide essential health care services throughout New York State, with exceptions for lack of staffing or other challenges, such as temporary lack of demand for such services.  Further, we encourage Article 16 Clinicians to use their best professional and clinical judgment to prioritize the needs for services and individuals in their communities, based upon the relative acuity or immediacy of their needs.

In the event that an Article 16 Clinic has to temporarily close a clinic site during this state of emergency, the Voluntary Agency needs to submit the following in writing to the OPWDD clinic mailbox ( (1) the date of temporary closure and locations of Article 16 Satellite Clinics, and subsequently, (2) the date that they have re-opened, once that is known.

Note, if the OPWDD Article 16 Satellite Clinics are closed permanently, then a Certificate of Need (CON) needs to be submitted to OPWDD clinic mailbox.

Thank you

-Allison Behan

Allison Behan

Director, Statewide Article 16 Clinics

Statewide Services

NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

44 Holland Avenue, Albany, NY 12229


Administrative Support: (518) 474-5673 |

Direct: (518) 408-2464

Register now for FEMA reimbursement of eligible COVIOD-19 expenditures

Federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be available under the COVID-19 major disaster declaration.  Please see the attached notification from New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services for more details.  Additional information can be found on their website at  Virtual applicant briefings will be on several dates next week and will be based on your county location.  You may register through the attached notification.

The Office of Recovery at the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will be holding several virtual Applicant Briefings to discuss the federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that may be available under the COVID-19 major disaster declaration. The briefing will provide state agencies and authorities, local governments and private non-profits guidance on the eligibility standards for being an applicant under a FEMA disaster grant and what types of activities are reimbursable under this current declaration.

Click here for for the Applicant’s Briefing Schedule. 

Emergency medical care (diagnosis or treatment of mental or physical injury or disease) private non-profits that may be eligible for reimbursement include:

  •  Clinics
  • Facilities that provide in-patient care for convalescent or chronic disease patients
  • Hospices and nursing homes
  • Hospitals and related facilities, including:
    o Central service facilities operated in connection with hospitals
    o Extended-care facilities
    o Facilities related to programs for home health services
    o Laboratories
    o Self-care units
    o Storage, administration, and record areas o
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers that provide medical

    FEMA makes the final determination on applicant eligibility for private non-profits. The types of information requested for review:
    • DUNS Number
    • Organizational Charter / By-Laws
    • Tax Exempt Letter, 501(c), (d), or (e) IRS designation
    • NYS Comptroller’s W-9 Form
    • Articles of Incorporation
    • PNP Questionnaire

Click here for for the Applicant’s Briefing Schedule. 

Updated Guidance on Essential Workplaces and Status of Direct Support Professionals


March 20, 2020
The Governor’s most recent Executive Order, EO 202.7, as well as the associated Guidance issued by the Empire State Development Corporation, sets forth in-person work restrictions,
effective as of March 21, 2020 at 8 pm, and until further notice.

These restrictions require all businesses and nonprofit entities to utilize telecommuting and work from home procedures to the extent possible.

Please remember that essential businesses, which include home health care workers/aides, direct support professionals (DSPs), elder care, nursing homes, residential health care/congregate care facilities, walk-in health facilities, hospitals, research/laboratories, and those providing medical equipment and supplies, are considered exempt from the restrictions mentioned above.

This notice is to confirm that your agencies, which provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities and are operated, certified, authorized or funded by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), qualify for this exemption and should remain in operation to the extent necessary to provide those services. This includes your administrative offices and those employees necessary to support the essential functions of your agency’s mission.

Please remember to continue to maintain good hygiene and precautionary measures, as COVID-19 can be spread from infected individuals to others through close personal contact.

Providers must encourage good hygiene and social distancing within the workplace and must keep staff home if they are sick.

Providers should regularly check the NYS Department of Health and OPWDD websites for the latest guidance on COVID-19 as the outbreak evolves.

March 17, 2020 – On the Status of Direct Support Professionals

Direct Support Professionals are essential and integral employees to OPWDD’s provision of services, and that is especially true during this public health emergency. OPWDD has remained in close consultation with our partners at the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department, as well as with those at the federal and local level, to ensure the health and safety of all staff.

In guidance issued by the NYS Education Department, found at:  Additional Guidance on Statewide School Closures Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak in New York State  – March 17, 2020, DSP’s are classified as essential health care workers:

“Essential health care workers may include licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, LPNs and nurse assistants or laboratory personnel and direct support professionals. First responders may include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, and firefighters.”

As you know this is a rapidly evolving situation. Please check the New York State Department of Health (DOH) Novel Coronavirus webpage for frequent updates.

OPWDD: Immediate Temporary Suspension of Day Program Services

The following was issued by OPWDD on March 17, 2020:

Immediate Temporary Suspension of Day Program Services

The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities is hereby directing the temporary suspension of services at all Day Habilitation, Day Treatment, and Prevocational Services across the state effective no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by 5 p.m.

All such programs must submit to OPWDD a plan for temporary suspension, using the enclosed template, as soon as practicable but no later than Friday, March 20, 2020. Providers are expected to implement temporary suspension measures immediately without OPWDD prior review.

We recognize that unexpected changes in scheduling, staffing, or a temporary suspension of day program services all represent significant hardships for families who support their loved ones in their homes. Day program services for people with developmental disabilities allow families to meet their other needs, including earning a living and providing care to other family members. Alternative programming for families that will be negatively affected by the suspension of services should be noted within your Plan.

All plans must be submitted to the dedicated mailbox for review at Questions and requests for technical assistance should be referred to your local OPWDD Regional Office.

The health and well-being of the people we mutually support is of utmost importance and OPWDD will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional updates as new information becomes available.

Download the Day Program Emergency Response Template (Excel).

CP works for New Yorkers with I/DD at Albany Legislative Advocacy Days

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther shows her support for 3for5.

Executives, staff and volunteer Board Members from CP of NYS Affiliates and other non-profit service providers from across the state joined together in Albany on Feb. 25-26 for Lobby Days.

CP State partnered with ALIA, DDAWNY, IAC, and NYAEMP to organize the Albany Legislative Advocacy Days this year.

Staff and volunteers from all over the state met with their elected representatives to call for 3for5, a 3% annual program funding investment for 5 years. A 3% increase is necessary to begin to correct the historical disparity in funding of services and supports that are the foundation of health for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. It keeps pace with inflation, and it is on par with overall growth of Medicaid funding.

Legislators were reminded that a decade of underinvestment has forced one third of OPWDD funded providers to close or reduce programs,  impacting 30,000 employees and 50,000 people with disabilities

Half of New York’s nonprofit providers have less than 40 days of cash on hand and 1/3 have less than 30 days of cash, just two pay periods away from not being able to make payroll.

At various points throughout the two days, we were joined by Sen. David Carlucci, Sen. Gustavo Rivera, and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther who are staunch supporters of 3for5.

In addition to 3for5, the group also advocated for the preservation of the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program and to shift current commercial insurance coverage from a claims-based model to a covered lives pool funded program. These are valuable and cost-effective tools that would ultimately save New Yorkers money.

Click here to view the organizations’ full list of budget requests.

Racker’s Dan Brown appointed to national HCBS Technical Expert Panel

Congratulations to Racker CEO Dan Brown on being appointed to serve on the national Home and Community Based Services Technical Expert Panel.

An initiative of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the HCBS Technical Expert Panel is a group of 15 thought-leaders from across the country who have been invited to help shape the direction of a set of HCBS quality measures.

For years, Dan has been a leader within our vibrant provider community. He currently co-chairs American Network of Community Options and Resources’ Board of Representatives, on which he has represented New York since 2018.

Dan is also a member of ANCOR’s Government Relations Committee. As ANCOR COO Gabrielle Sedor put it upon learning the news of Dan’s appointment, “I appreciate that Dan always brings multiple perspectives to the table, as well as a vested interest in helping to develop and identify measures that directly relate to quality supports that impact people’s lives in meaningful ways.”

“ANCOR is deeply appreciative of CMS’ efforts to convene the TEP, and we are immensely grateful for the work Dan  will do drive our field closer to meaningful quality measures,” said Barbara Merrill, ANCOR Chief Executive Officer.

“Dan is a leader and great advocate for our field, and I speak for everyone at CP state that I say his appointment is well-deserved,” said CP State Executive Director Mike Alvaro.

How is the workforce crisis affecting your agency?

The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) is asking that we share and that everyone complete this survey about the impact of the workforce crisis on your agency.


We need your help – please. As I hope you have seen, recently, we’ve been successfully pitching more coverage in the press about the direct support workforce crisis as validated by the NCI staff stability report. We have been successful in connecting members to reporters to discuss specific agency/corporation experience, but to keep this momentum going, we need more information. 

For that reason, I write to ask that you tell us: What does the direct support workforce crisis mean for your organization and the people you support? Are you turning away new referrals because of inadequate staffing? Are you shuttering existing programs or delaying the launch of new ones because you don’t have enough staff to make those programs successful? How else might this issue be hindering your ability to support people in community? 

To answer this question, please take four minutes as soon as you’re able to complete this short questionnaire about the impact of the DSP workforce crisis on your organization. Any information you share will be kept confidential, and no identifying information will be preserved if and when we disseminate the results of this survey. That said, we will certainly put these insights to good use as we work to even further raise the visibility of the issue and make the case for solutions that work in the long-term. 

I know you’re busy, and I know you have survey fatigue, so I am immensely grateful for the time you take to complete the survey. Please try to coordinate to ensure only one person per organization responds – but also please do not let the perfect get in the way of getting this done. 


Medicaid Redesign Team II to hold Public Comment Forum in Albany on February 21  

The New York State Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) II will hold the third of a series of public comment forums on February 21st in Albany, NY. The first public comment forum took place in New York City on February 14th, followed by a second in Rochester on February 18th. The purpose of these events is to give members of the community an opportunity to speak about changes to the State’s Medicaid program within the upcoming FY 2021 State Budget.

When: Friday, February 21, 2020, 10:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m.

Where: Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle St, Albany, NY 12207

*A live webcast of the public comment forum will be available on the MRT II website:

The MRT webpage also offers more detail on the specific responsibilities and charges tasked to the MRT II, a complete list of MRT II members, recorded webcasts of past meetings and public forums, and a link to the MRT II Public Proposal Form.

Contact: New York State Department of Health
518-474-7354, Ext. 1

Save the date: Quality and Compliance Conference on May 5!

The 13th Annual Quality & Compliance Challenges Conference for Providers Serving People with Disabilities will be held on Tuesday, May 5, 8:30 am  to 4 pm, at the Saratoga Hilton at 534 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Each year, this conference provides valuable information and insights for Corporate Compliance Officers, Quality Improvement Staff, Executive Leadership and other attendees to help ensure disability service providers are running effective, efficient, high quality programs.

This year’s sessions feature:

  • Rachel Dunn, Special Prosecutor & Inspector General, NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs
  • HIPAA Compliance Presentation by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights
  • The Relationship Between Human Resource Employment Concerns & Corporate Compliance
  • Managed Care and Creating a Culture of Quality

This is a great opportunity for Corporate Compliance Officers, Corporate Compliance Committee Members, Quality Assurance Officers, Board Members, and Executive Leadership.


For further information, contactThe Arc New York at (518) 439-8311 ~