ABSOLUTE HCBS | Absolute HCBS & COVID-19
Absolute HCBS is actively monitoring the progression of the respiratory illness COVID-19, and our policies and procedures have been updated to protect the health and safety of our providers and members.
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Absolute HCBS & COVID-19

Absolute HCBS is actively monitoring the progression of the respiratory illness COVID-19, caused by a new novel coronavirus. This situation continues to develop rapidly as new cases are identified in our communities and our protocols will be adjusted as needed. Please check this site regularly for policy updates, resources, and information.

Pandemic Performance Plan

Please review Absolute HCBS, LLC’s Pandemic Performance Plan here.

Hazard Pay Letter (5/1/2020)

Dear Valued Absolute HCBS Providers,

During this unprecedented time, we hope this letter finds you well. Some of you may have already heard that Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) has approved a temporary rate increase for services provided from April 13th – May 31st.

We have been working with our payroll company to determine the best way to distribute this increase to you, our providers. We are grateful for the services you provide to our clients and hope this increase provides some relief.

This increase was approved for services provided from April 13th-May 31st. In an effort to show our appreciation, we have allocated more than 80% of these funds from the State directly to you, our providers. Your pay rates will be increased and decreased automatically. If you have already been paid for time worked April 13th-15th the increase will be paid retroactively and added to your next check.
Normal rates will automatically return on June 1, 2020.

Once again, we would like to thank you for the services you provide to our clients!

Best wishes and with appreciation,
The Absolute HCBS Admin Team

Temporary Rate Increases and AZ's Testing Blitz (4/28/2020)

Valued Families and Providers,

1. The Division of Developmental Disabilities has given HCBS agencies in Arizona temporary funding to support them during the current shelter-in-place mandates.  Absolute is currently working with AmCheck/iSolved to assess the best way to distribute these funds and will be notifying providers in the next week or so with that information.  Because these funds were issued effective April 13, providers will be back paid to that date when the decision is made.  Thank you for your patience with this process.

2. State officials announced Monday an “Arizona testing blitz” with the goal of testing 30,000 to 60,000 people over the next three weekends.

The plan is to test between 10,000 and 20,000 Arizonans for three consecutive Saturdays. The surge begins Saturday and will continue on May 9 and May 16.

Per the state’s new guidelines, testing will be available to anyone who thinks they’ve been exposed or could be infected, although each testing site may have their own additional criteria.

Testing will take place at drive-thru and onsite locations across the state. Testing locations, hours and registration information can be found at azhealth.gov/testingblitz.

Click here for more information. 

Secondary PPE Distribution Info (4/20/2020)

Valued Families and Providers,

We will be holding one more day for mask and glove distribution on Friday, April 24th from 9 am to 5 pm at each office location (Phoenix will be open 9 am to 4 pm). We are also welcoming families to come by and pick up PPE supplies for their providers. We have supplies to provide all providers with one mask and additionally all attendant care providers with one box of gloves. If a family member of the consumer plans on picking up PPE from us, please be sure to communicate with your provider(s) as we will only be able to supply one mask per provider and one box of gloves per attendant care provider. 

If you are unable to stop by between 9 am or 5 pm but can at an earlier or later time, please let your Area Supervisor know and we will do our best to accommodate you. Our administrative staff will not be setting up private pickup times on different days.  There will be social distancing protocols put in place and we do ask that you are respectful of that. There is no sign-up process for this. Please show up at the office your Area Supervisor is housed out of normally between 9 am and 5 pm on Friday and we will distribute your mask and gloves (gloves are only available for ATC providers). If you have any questions or concerns about this, please reach out to your Area Supervisor directly.

Office Locations:

Tempe – 4700 S MCCLINTOCK DR SUITE 150, TEMPE, AZ 85282

Phoenix – 4745 N 7TH ST SUITE 120, PHOENIX, AZ 85014

Coolidge – 801 N ARIZONA BLVD, COOLIDGE, AZ 85128

Tucson – 4601 E FT LOWELL RD SUITE 101, TUCSON, AZ 85712

Please continuously check our website for recommendations and updates on the current situation. Thank you for all that you do.

The COVID-19 Relief Fund and PPE Distribution Info (4/14/2020)

Valued Providers,

It is a priority of ours to support our employees to the best of our ability during this trying time. Please see below the actions we are taking to assist our staff and help slow the spread of COVID.

1. COVID-19 Relief Fund

Absolute HCBS has established the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The COVID-19 Relief Fund is a needs-based program that provides one-time monetary assistance to current providers for food or utilities. Our goal is to help alleviate the burden so that you can continue working during the national emergency. Please see the attached application for more information on eligibility and how to apply.

2. Masks and Gloves

Our amazing admin staff was able to secure cloth masks and gloves for distribution. Masks and gloves will be distributed on Friday, April 17th from 9 am to 5 pm at each office location. Each provider will receive one mask and providers who are actively working Attendant Care services will also be receiving one box of gloves. If you are unable to stop by between 9 am or 5 pm but can at an earlier or later time, please let your Area Supervisor know and we will do our best to accommodate you. There will be social distancing protocols put in place and we do ask that you are respectful of that. There is no sign-up process for this. Please show up at the office your Area Supervisor is housed out of normally between 9 am and 5 pm on Friday and we will distribute your mask and gloves (ATC providers only). If you have any questions or concerns about this, please reach out to your Area Supervisor directly.

Office Locations:

Tempe – 4700 S MCCLINTOCK DR SUITE 150, TEMPE, AZ 85282

Phoenix – 4745 N 7TH ST SUITE 120, PHOENIX, AZ 85014

Coolidge – 801 N ARIZONA BLVD, COOLIDGE, AZ 85128

Tucson – 4601 E FT LOWELL RD SUITE 101, TUCSON, AZ 85712

Please continuously check our website for recommendations and updates on the current situation. Thank you for all that you do.

What you need to know now (4/6/2020)

On April 5, 2020 the CDC announced a recommendation that all citizens wear cloth face masks, particularly those still working essential services.  Though we are working on securing both masks and gloves, supply is short all over the nation so the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released instructions and visual tutorials on how to make cloth face coverings from common household materials.

As essential service providers it is imperative that both our providers and our families take the necessary precautions to keep every person safe from COVID-19.  We would like to ask the following of families and providers:

Families

To the greatest extent possible, please have every member of your household wear masks when a provider is in the home.

If your provider does not have a mask, consider making one for them and keeping it your home so the mask is not worn anywhere else.

Take each providers’ temperature before allowing them to enter your home. If it is higher than 100.4, please send the provider home.

If you, anyone in your family, or any of your providers display any COVID-19 symptoms including loss of taste/smell, fever, or cough, please contact your Area Supervisor/Manager immediately.  It is extremely important for us to track possible exposures in order to keep both our families and providers safe.

If you cannot or choose not to have outside providers in your home, please consider using family living in your home to provide services.  If you are a parent with a DDD member who is 18 or older, consider becoming a provider for your child.  Absolute HCBS is hiring both family in-home and parent providers but it should be noted that they must be hired, become certified, and follow state/agency policies just as any other employee would be expected to.

Providers

Wear a mask when providing services, making sure a new mask is put on for each consumer you serve,  and machine washed in between each visit.  This seems like a lot of work but will save lives.

Take your temperature before leaving for your shift.  If it is over 100.4, please stay home and bill sick time for the cancelled shift.

Consider taking a clean set of clothes and changing in between shifts if you are traveling directly from one consumer’s home to another’s.

If you, anyone in your family, or any of your providers display any COVID-19 symptoms including loss of taste/smell, fever, or cough, please contact your Area Supervisor/Manager immediately.  It is extremely important for us to track possible exposures in order to keep both our families and providers safe.

If you are unable to work due to any COVID-19 related issue and are in need of financial assistance as a result, please see below for information on our COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Initial response (3/11/2020)

Our response and readiness includes:

● We are following updates and procedures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Arizona State Dept of Health Services, local and county health departments and authorities, AHCCCS and other agencies and resources. We will continue to adjust our plans according to the recommendations from these organizations.

● As a standard practice, we have an emergency preparedness plan in place. We will continue to follow it as this situation evolves or update it accordingly.

● We are advising all caregiver staff across Arizona to follow our established protocol regarding staying home when sick. We already advise staff not to go to work if they feel ill, so this practice is not new to our staff.

● We are in communication with caregiver staff to assess any known risk factors, such as travel to areas with widespread outbreaks or local contact in areas known to have reported cases. We will advise them not to report to work if they are deemed high-risk.

● We believe that home remains the safest place for you or your loved one, as indications show that the virus is spread more quickly in facilities and larger group or public settings. Possible exposure will remain the lowest for those who are able to stay in their homes or private settings within facilities and limit outside contact. For this reason, we feel fortunate to be able to provide care that can keep people at home or limited to exposure in group settings through personalized care and support.

● We acknowledge that many of our members are especially at risk, given they are older adults, have compromised immune systems or other underlying health issues. We are vigilant about our need to help protect these individuals from illness be it the flu, COVID-19, or any other communicable disease. These measures are not new to us as we seek to minimize risk regularly for our members, regardless of an outbreak such as that of this new coronavirus.

COVID-19 Resources and Information

Absolute HCBS Essential Services Letter - English

Absolute HCBS Providers are considered essential workers. In the event that you need to provide proof of employment, please carry this letter with you to/from shifts.

 

Visit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15LLOSmzyMusaVPjRftNNUFW2QjaQPGOTWArlUlE6jvI/edit

Absolute HCBS Essential Services Letter - Español

Absolute HCBS Providers are considered essential workers. In the event that you need to provide proof of employment, please carry this letter with you to/from shifts.

 

Visit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Bwi3UxAUTSZHGLXICx8MJF9OMiH5W-vJpycthxYHPGs/edit

AHCCCS COVID-19 Response

If you are an AHCCCS member who is experiencing flu-like symptoms, please call the 24-hour Nurse Line for your health plan (listed below):


24-Hour Nurse Line Numbers by Health Plan

Arizona Complete Health (ACC & RBHA) 1-866-534-5963
Banner (ACC & LTC) 1-888-747-7990
Care1st 1-800-746-3163
Magellan 1-800-424-5891
Mercy Care (ACC & LTC) 1-800-624-3879
Mercy Care (RBHA) 1-800-564-5465
UnitedHealthcare (ACC & LTC) 1-877-440-0255
Health Choice Arizona (ACC & RBHA)1-855-458-0622
CMDP 1-800-201-1795
DDD AIHP 1-844-770-9500

Visit: https://azahcccs.gov/AHCCCS/AboutUs/covid19.html

Arizona Department of Health Services (AzDHS)

Protect yourself and stop the spread of COVID-19 by following these guidelines:

    • Depending on the severity of the spread of illness in communities or the response taken by national and state authorities (ex. mandatory isolation, closure of workplaces or schools, public transportation, etc.), your ability to report for work may be impacted. We recommend that you begin now to set up back-up and support systems for childcare, family care and other potential disruptions.
    • We will make every effort possible to provide our members with safe and appropriate care and avoid shift cancellations by members, however, we cannot guarantee this will not occur given the uncertainties about this particular situation. We may also be looking for help with staffing shifts, if the illness become widespread. Should this occur, please consider working additional hours if you are able.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. You can also sneeze into your elbow if a tissue isn’t available. Avoid coughing/sneezing into your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
    • Eat well, drink lots of water and get rest to strengthen your immune system.
    • Have a family emergency preparedness plan that includes care coverage and back up support, if possible.
    • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.
    • If you have underlying medical issues that put you in the high-risk category, avoid large public gatherings or other places outside the home. Limit your contact with others.

Visit azdhs.gov/covid19

Arizona Together

Arizona Together is a public information site that tracks state specific information and resources. For more information about COVID-19, you can also dial 2-1-1 (English and Spanish).

Visit: https://arizonatogether.org/

CARES Act Information

Learn about the impact of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and it’s impact on the disability community from the National Disability Institute. 

Visit: https://www.nationaldisabilityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cares-act-and-the-disability-community.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Learn what to do to protect yourself from COVID-19 and what to do if you believe you are infected.

Visit: cdc.gov/COVID19

CDC Hand Washing Guide

Stop germs and wash your hands often. Learn when and how to properly wash your hands per CDC guidance.

Download the English Flyer
Download the Spanish Flyer

COVID-19 Info for and by People with Disabilities

Green Mountain Self-Advocates put together a guide for people with disabilities about COVID-19 including factual information about the virus, social distancing, social-emotional wellness and PPE.

Download the English Guide
Download the Spanish Guide

DDD Actions Related to COVID-19

The Division of Developmental Disabilities is actively working to support the health and safety of members, families, and the professionals in our system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a summary of the actions we are taking to ensure the continuation of necessary services for our members and to support the financial viability of our providers.

Visit https://des.az.gov/services/disabilities/developmental-disabilities/vendors-providers/actions_related_to_covid-19

DDD Guidance for Congregate Settings

The Division of Developmental Disabilities has published a series of resources outlining the best practices for group homes, developmental homes, and center based services during quarantine. 

Visit https://des.az.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19_QVA_Guidance_for_Congregate_Settings_Group_Homes_Developmental_Homes_1.pdf?time=1586237453170

DDD Home Meal Delivery Service

DDD is partnering with Mom’s Meals to provide ALTCS members with a 14 day supply of home delivered meals during the COVID-19 pandemic (limited to 1 meal per day, delivered every 14 days via FedEx to the member’s home). Members who receive ATC services are only eligible for this program on days when ATC services are not being provided. To enroll in the meal delivery service, please contact your Support Coordinator.

Learn more about the home delivered meal program here.

DES Actions Related to COVID-19

Many lives have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) and our community partners are here to serve you during this critical time. The sections below outline our programs and services. Under orders from the Governor, DES services are considered essential services, which means DES will continue to stay open to serve Arizonans in need. The public is encouraged to access DES services online or by phone to continue social distancing, but select offices will remain open for those who cannot access services virtually.

Receive assistance with:

    • Unemployment Insurance
    • Arizona Together
    • 2-1-1 COVID-19 Hotline
    • Cash, Medical and Nutrition Assistance
    • Developmental Disabilities
    • Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP)
    • Short-term Crisis Services
    • Mortgage Assistance
    • Community Resources
    • Childcare Assistance
    • Arizona Enrichment Centers
    • Child Support
    • Business Resources

Visit https://des.az.gov/services/coronavirus

Office of Governor Ducey

Stay up to date with the COVID-19 Arizona Task Force and Gov. Ducey’s latest Executive Orders.

Visit: azgovernor.gov

School Lunch Distribution Locations - Phoenix Area

Chandler Unified School District

Free curbside meal service is available for any child 18 or under, regardless of district enrollment. Meal pickup will be available at Hamilton High School and Chandler High School from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., from Wednesday, March 18 to Friday, March 27. A breakfast and lunch will be served during each meal period. Children must be present at time of meal pick-up.

CONTACT: (480) 812-7240

Creighton School District

Families can drive or walk-up to the outside of all 8 school front offices to grab breakfast and lunch at once between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Adult meals can be purchased for $1 for breakfast and $2 for lunch. No paperwork is required and meals are to be consumed off-site.

CONTACT: (602) 381-6000

Kyrene School District

Kyrene will provide sack lunches, with cold breakfast and lunch, to anyone age 18 or younger starting Tuesday, March 17. The meals will be available at the these locations. Additionally, families can pick up food boxes and hygiene supplies at the Kyrene Family Resource Center between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the garage.

CONTACT: (480) 541-1660

Madison School District

Beginning Monday, March 23, breakfast and lunch will be available at the Madison Camelview campus to any child under the age of 18. Students do not need to be on the Free or Reduced priced meal program to participate. Breakfast will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

CONTACT: (602) 664-7900

Mesa Public Schools

Sack lunches will be available for pick up at all Mesa district elementary schools on Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all children ages 18 and younger, including our junior high and high school students. The district is developing a comprehensive breakfast and lunch distribution plan that will go into effect later this week.

CONTACT: (480) 472-0000

Osborn School District

Free breakfast and lunch is available for pickup at these seven Osborn School District locations, Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Meals are available to all children 18 and younger. Families are welcome to walk-up or drive-thru with children present at time of pick-up.

CONTACT: 602-707-2000

Phoenix Union High School District

Phoenix Union will open all school cafeterias from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for breakfast and from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. for lunch. Anyone age 18 or younger is welcome.

CONTACT: (602) 764-1100

Salt River Schools

Free breakfast and lunch is available to children ages 18 and younger starting Tuesday, March 17, through Tuesday, March 31, at Salt River High School. This applies to any child, regardless of where they go to school. There will be drive-up meal distribution at SRHS (at the north side of the main parking lot along Country Club Drive – look for the canopy). Breakfast will be served from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All children who receive a meal must be physically present at the time the meal is provided.

CONTACT: (480) 362-2500

Scottsdale Unified School District

Any child under age 18 can grab a sack meal containing breakfast and lunch from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday in the parking lots various locations. If parents are driving to pick up the meals, they should stay in their cars and the meals will be passed to the driver. Pick-ups will located in the parking lots of the locations listed here.

CONTACT: (480) 484-6234

Tempe Elementary School District

Free grab-and-go meals for students at nine school locations are currently available for students 18 years and younger, regardless of school district. Breakfast will be provided at each location from 7:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., and lunch will be provided at each location from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Please complete their survey so they know how many meals to prepare.

CONTACT: (480) 730-7100

Tempe Union High School District

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, meals will be available for pick up at three school locations (Mountain Pointe, Marcos de Niza, and Tempe High) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone 18 and under will be able to pick up two meals at a time for themselves: lunch for the current day, plus breakfast for the following day. Students must be present in order to receive meals. Meals are open to all students, regardless of the school they attend.

CONTACT: (480) 839-0292

Senior Resources

The Area Agency on Aging is providing Meals on Wheels or food boxes during the COVID-19 pandemic to 60+ older adults in Maricopa County. Call the 24-hour Senior Help Line 602-264-4357.

Seniors and PWD COVID Relief Act

Learn about the Coronavirus Relief for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act. This bill is sponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).

Visit: https://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Seniors%20and%20PWD%20COVID%2019%20Relief%20Act%20OnePager%202.1.pdf

TASH - Equal Access to Medical Equipment

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, have human and civil rights in regards to the COVID-19 triage response for equal access.

Read more: Final Statement on Rights to Equal Access

The Arc of the United States - Federal Policy Update

The Arc of the United States provides a video update summarizing public policy updates and initiatives that effect the disability community surrounding COVID-19.

Visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuHGMOPcpgM&feature=youtu.be 

Updates on Coronavirus in the U.S.

Access comprehensive information about COVID-19 from The White House, CDC and FEMA. This site breaks down specific resources for travelers, households, pregnant women, children, people who are sick, small business owners, schools, corporations, healthcare professionals, health departments, laboratories, and emergency management.

Visit: https://www.coronavirus.gov/

Learn how the COVID-19 Relief Fund can help our Providers

Absolute HCBS would like to extend our support to our providers during the COVID-19 national pandemic. We understand that many of our providers are experiencing financial hardship and we want to extend a helping hand to our extraordinary providers and their families. We notice your commitment to providing essential services for individuals with disabilities during this time, and we appreciate you!

In response, Absolute HCBS has established the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The COVID-19 Relief Fund is a needs-based program that provides one-time monetary assistance to current providers for food or utilities. Our goal is to help alleviate the burden, so that you can continue working during the national emergency.

Applications for financial assistance through the COVID-19 Relief Fund must be turned into your Area Manager or Supervisor with payroll, no later than the 10 am on payroll. You can apply for either a $100 grocery gift card or a $100 utility bill credit.

Providers can only apply for assistance if they are active and/or in good standing. Applications will be anonymously reviewed by the Department Heads, and awards will be granted based on demonstrated financial need. Recipients will be notified of their awards.

Copy of COVID-19 Relief Application (English).

Copy of COVID-19 Relief Application (Español).

If you have questions about the application, please reach out to your Area Manager or Supervisor.

Absolute HCBS is providing social media opportunities through our Facebook page that include free adaptive Zumba classes provided by an administrative staff member’s friend in Colorado and adaptive dance provided by our very own Director of Quality Assurance and Policy Compliance, Kim Aguirre! If you haven’t already, follow us here and check in often as we are also providing new additional resources daily.

Like us on Facebook!