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Guidance: County Board Recommendations

Attention County Boards of Developmental Disabilities:

As the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) responds to coronavirus (COVID-19), please continue to exercise flexibility to ensure the health and safety of Ohioans with developmental disabilities and their families. This time requires that everyone does more than their normal daily operations. DODD appreciates the unique role that county boards of developmental disabilities play in the system and the opportunity boards have in coordinating local response.

During the state of emergency, technology or phone calls can be used in lieu of any required face-to-face interactions or in-person meetings. Examples would include the Level of Care, Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument (OEDI), Children’s Ohio Eligibility Determination Instrument (COEDI), or Pre-Admission Screening assessments, which would not require face-to-face interactions during this time.

Communication and transparency are key during the state of emergency. County boards can be clear in indicating to guardians, families, and providers that they are working remotely. County boards can develop outreach to support single parents, aging caregivers, or other at-risk populations who may be receiving natural supports, and they can create communication chains with providers.

This may include a way for county boards to communicate staffing difficulties as well as possible disruptions in services. County boards can also develop a process to communicate with guardians, families, and people with disabilities about potential changes in services and supports. County boards are encouraged to communicate these changes in as many ways possible, including but not limited to using email, social media, websites, and in writing.

County boards and service and support administrators (SSAs) are encouraged to focus resources on supporting providers, maintaining the health and safety of those receiving services, and instituting infection control measures. A system may be developed and monitored to track people with disabilities who are exhibiting flu-like and/or symptoms similar to COVID-19, and to notify the local health department of any positive tests of COVID-19.

SSAs can focus their attention on the following items:

  • Asking people if they have groceries, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies
  • Asking if any doctor’s appointments need to be rescheduled, or if assistance is needed to get to the appointment
  • Considering telehealth services as an option
  • Identifying if any person will require additional support based on schedule changes
  • Familiarizing themselves about locally available community resources and referring them to people and providers
  • Identifying people who need medications filled
  • Asking people and families if their providers are showing up
  • Assisting providers to understand the concept of social distancing, which includes limiting social activities
  •  Working with providers to consider allowing “on behalf of” services
  • Understanding that now is not the time to be teaching someone how to grocery shop, but rather to limit people’s unnecessary exposure to public settings

To enable counties and SSAs the time to support their local communities, SSAs may immediately postpone assessment and planning meetings, and may only complete revisions if necessary.

DODD has set up a dedicated web page for department communications and links to helpful resources that will advise people with disabilities, their families, service providers, direct support professionals, county boards of developmental disabilities, and the community at large.

For specific questions about COVID-19 and additional information and resources, DODD urges you to use the Ohio Department of Health’s call center. Call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634), or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.