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COVID-19 Special Edition Newsletter:
April 3, 2020


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Care Design NY  is committed to keeping the provider community informed. Care Design NY created a COVID-19 Provider Resource page on Care Design NY website as well as a COVID-19 Special Edition Newsletter.  

The newsletters will be emailed weekly and also archived on the COVID-19 Provider page for your continued reference, and the COVID-19 Provider Resource Page will be updated daily with announcements and critical information. 

NOTE: Information related to COVID -19 is rapidly changing. This newsletter is up to date as of today, 4/3/2020. For additional information, please visit the provider resource page.

COVID-19 and Medicaid Spenddowns

Significant changes were made to Medicaid rules and processes due to COVID-19.  During this public health crisis, the NYS Department of Health instructed its Departments of Social Services (DSS) and the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) to suspend any negative action on Medicaid cases and to extend coverage for anyone who had active Medicaid on 3/18/2020.   

During this difficult time, it is important to ensure that individuals have the necessary Medicaid coverage for the supports and services they need, and providers continue to access payment for the important services they provide.    

For people with spenddowns, the following is advised: 

  • Ensure spenddown requirement is met for March. This will allow coverage to be extended.  
    • If people regularly pay in each month but have not yet for March, DSS/HRA has been instructed to give them coverage and extend coverage. 
    • If people do not regularly meet their spenddown requirement, but met it for March, a case can be made for their coverage to be extended. 
    • In addition to paying in, paid or unpaid expenses can be used to meet a spenddown. Click HERE for more info.
    • Spenddowns for prior months can be met using bills/receipts, but not cash (check with DSS – cash may be accepted by some for prior months).   
  • There should be no negative action on Medicaid cases (losing coverage) during this time. If notices of negative action are received, file for a Fair Hearing with Aid to Continue (AC). 
    • Spenddown cases are being extended during this crisis, so there should be no discontinued coverage from 3/18/2020 on for any reason. 
    • It is important to monitor Medicaid status and step in right away if notice of any negative action is received.   
  • If excess income is based on a person’s earned income and they lose their income, this should be reported to Medicaid so the case can be re-budgeted accordingly. 
    • Districts may vary on whether they want to re-budget cases like these during this time since no negative actions should be taken anyway – report unless advised otherwise. 
    • Loss of or decrease in earned income for SSI recipients should be reported to SSA. The SSI amount may increase as a result of lost or decreased income. 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) and COVID-19
Care Design NY developed a brief one-page document explaining unemployment benefits and its impacts on SSI payments related to the changes with Medicaid re-determination and COVID-19.  The document can be found HERE.


Regulatory Waivers and Communications: 

Many State and Federal agencies continue to distribute memos or waivers related to service provisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Care Design NY will update this section weekly with new information received.  Please be sure to visit our Provider Resource Page on our website for additional information.

For the most up-to-date OPWDD guidance related to COVID-19 CLICK HERE
Stay up-to-date with New York State Department of Health’s Coronavirus information page.  CLICK HERE.

OPWDD Front Door Staff Communication 

OPWDD sent a communication on 3/26/2020 to Care Coordination Organizations (CCOs) highlighting important information for Front Door staff in response to COVID-19. The communication suspended the requirement that a service authorization request must be accompanied by a Life Plan or in-process Life Plan.  Front Door staff can use the documents previously considered when authorizing services, including documents needed to establish OPWDD eligibility and Level of Care Determinations. 

The memorandum issued January 7, 2019, by Kate Bishop, remains in effect. Service Amendments can be considered without an updated Life Plan, using other documents and a statement from the Care Manager about the need for any additional services or increase in services. 


Telehealth in Action

Metro Community Health Centers

In efforts to stay connected with their patients and in response to COVID-19, Metro Community Health Centers (MCHC) recently announced they are providing telehealth to all new and established for the following services:

  • Primary Care/Family Medicine
  • Neurology 
  • Psychiatry 
  • Behavioral Health (Counseling)
According to Metro Community Health Centers, telehealth services include telephonic visits and video conferencing using Zoom for Healthcare. MCHC selected Zoom for its ease of use, and accessibility on tablet, smart-phone or computer.  Zoom also allows multiple log-ins during a visit, so caregivers, and/or nurses at off-site locations can participate in the visit as needed. MCHC call center is still accessible and team members are currently providing outreach to current patients who have upcoming scheduled visits in order to have telehealth a considered option when possible.   

To schedule a telehealth appointment for an individual served, please call the MCHC call center at (718)-665-7565.   For questions about telehealth services, please contact Caroline Norris at

At this time two of MCHC sites will stay open, Bronx and Downtown Brooklyn (Livingston St).

Please visit their website, for additional information and service updates related to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Provider Resources

Care Design NY COVID-19 Emergency Resource Search Tool
For resources and other support related to the COVID-19, visit the Care Design NY COVID-19 search tool. This database is being updated daily with numerous resources to support people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. CLICK HERE 
Major Disaster Declaration FEMA-4480-DR 
On March 20, New York State received a Major Disaster Declaration FEMA-4480-DR from President Trump for the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration authorizes public assistance for category B Emergency Protective Measures to eligible applicants including critical and non-critical but essential private non-profit organizations. Applicant briefing webinars were held throughout this past week. For additional information on how to participate and submit for reimbursement, CLICK HERE.

NY Alliance Weekly Webinars
NY Alliance is offering a webinar on working remotely:  Tips & Best Practices for Supporting People with I/DD. 
  • Date: Thursday, April 9 
  • Time: 11:00AM.  
  • Registration required - Register Here  
The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) has information, including free webinars and handouts, for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to provide assistance through this crisis. CLICK HERE for more information.   

The Interagency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies (IAC) is offering a webinar on COVID-19 and People with I/DD: Taking Action to Mitigate Risk. For more information and to register, CLICK HERE

Attention Developmental Disability Provider Agencies 

Recognizing that OPWDD is allowing for the provision of services related to COVID-19 supports, Care Design NY would like to know what types of services and resources agencies are planning to offer. This information will be used to inform the Care Design NY COVID-19 Emergency Resource Tool which care managers use when searching for supports and services for individuals they support. On Friday, April 3rd, Care Design NY sent an email to agencies requesting the completion of a quick form to identify these new supports and services.  

Please CLICK HERE to take a few minutes to complete the form and  please contact with any questions.


Questions/Concerns related to COVID-19? Contact us!


Do you have questions or concerns related to COVID-19? Please contact Care Design NY’s Network Development and Provider Relations team at:

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