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Updated COVID-19 guidance and information for DDS providers
  • Department of Developmental Services
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All DDS Providers:


I’d like to provide an update on the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) response to COVID-19 as of Tuesday, April 14. Please also see this message sent to DDS families today. Feel free to share this with families and staff.


First, thank you for your creativity, commitment, and collaboration over the last month. Our direct care staff continue to go above and beyond to serve our individuals and families throughout this crisis.


DDS Residential Program Guidance

Today, we are releasing updated and comprehensive DDS Residential Program Guidance.


We have created a one-page guidance summary for group home managers and staff, which includes these updated policies. Please share this one-page summary and the DDS Residential Program Guidance with each of your homes and ensure staff are following these updated guidelines. 


This guidance includes important updates to policy and protocol, made in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EHS), and should be thoroughly reviewed and implemented by all DDS-operated and/or funded residential providers. Please note, an update to the EHS Congregate Care guidance was also released, with consistent policies and protocols. 


Updates include:

· What COVID-19 is and how it spreads.

· Prohibiting Visitors.

· Screening Staff.

· Face Mask Protocol.

· Mobile/On-site Testing.

· Exposure of Direct Care Workers to COVID-19.

· Reporting Positive Cases to DDS.

· On-Site Care.

· Moving Residents to an Alternative Site. 

· Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

· Cleaning and Deep Cleaning.


Emergency Alternative Residential Sites

Providers may consider relocating individuals to an emergency alternative residential site. Please review DDS considerations for emergency alternative residential sites. This document is not a requirement or checklist, but to assist providers when considering emergency alternative sites.


Fiscal Update

The 10% rate enhancement notice was sent to DDS providers on April 2, with payments processed by the Commonwealth and received by providers the week of April 6. These payments, made in coordination with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EHS), provide financial relief to eligible human service providers who are experiencing increased costs as a result of the public health emergency. This 10% rate enhancement represents over $44 million to DDS providers alone and is dedicated through June 2020.


In addition, DDS is coordinating with MassHealth to help ensure fiscal stability in the provider community delivering day services and supports. Released on April 8, DDS announced Administrative Payments for providers who are committed to developing or delivering remote services for Community-Based Day Supports (CBDS), and Individual and Group Supported Employment. DDS is currently collecting provider information regarding remote service delivery and anticipates Administrative Payments to be made in April.


DDS Guidance and Resources for Providers

Visit the Coronavirus Resources for DDS Providers webpage for the latest guidance:

· Background Record Checks

· MAP Guidance

· Remote Day Services

· 10% Enhancement Rate Notice

· Minimum Training Requirements  

· OQE Site Feasibility and Pre-Placement – Remote Approval Process


Again, thank you for all you do to serve our individuals and their families.


Jane F. Ryder


Department of Developmental Services

Coronavirus Update: March 25

All DDS Providers:


We’d like to provide an update on the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) response to COVID-19 as of Wednesday, March 25. Please see this message that was sent to DDS families today.  Feel free to share this with families and staff.


As I’m sure you are aware, on Monday, the Governor announced important updates to the State of Emergency including:

  • Nonessential businesses must close their physical workspaces and facilities to customers, workers, and the public. 
  • Gatherings are limited to 10 people, a reduction from the previous 25-person limit.
  • Child care programs are now closed. Child care programs are now closed. Exempt Emergency Child Care programs are being made available to provide emergency, back-up, drop-in child care for emergency workers, including essential human service and health care staff.


It is important to note that Group home and facility based residential services are essential and the staff who support individuals in those settings are performing essential work. 


There are additional important DDS policy updates related to COVID-19 for group home providers and residents/families, with links to guidance where feasible:

  • All in-person visitation to group homes is now prohibited, except for certain compassionate care situations, such as an end-of-life situation. 
  • Providers are urged to develop and implement cleaning, baseline and screening of staff and individuals, quarantine procedures, and staff training in accordance with updated COVID-19 guidance from DPH for Residential and Congregate Care Programs.
  • Provider Staff with any of the conditions below are restricted from entering the home:
  • In accordance with the DPH Stay-at-Home Advisory, DDS are suspending short visits with family into the community or to the family home.  If someone wishes to take their family member home with you, the individual must remain with their family for the duration of this public health emergency.


Please help your residents to assure that families and individuals can continue to communicate regularly by telephone, video, computer or other technological means.


If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact  your Area Office, Regional Office, Doreet or me.


Thank you.  Stay well.

Laney and Doreet

Department of Developmental Services  

The Department of Developmental Services provides supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder to enhance opportunities to become fully engaged members of their community.
Image credits:  Coronavirus Graphic (Pete Linforth from Pixabay)