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To the CVL Community:

5/15/2020
What a couple of months!  
 
I want to thank you for all you have done – pulling together, being creative, adaptive and willing to stretch yourselves on behalf of others.  You have been willing to run toward the fire, not away from it.  While certainly not surprised, I am very grateful.
 
I wanted to touch base about how we are moving forward. 
 
It has often been helpful to me to step back and attempt to put activities into context of the bigger picture of what we are trying to do.  When I fail to do that, there are times where my expectations can get out of line with the reality of the situation.  I can get so caught up in the next thing I want to do, or change, or I want to be done with, that I lose perspective on what I was trying to accomplish in the first place.  The last two months has been a time where that could easily happen.
 
There are a few facts that have been helpful for me to keep in mind during this pandemic.  
 
·     The threat to many of us, and many more of the people we serve, is real.  
·     This threat will only be eliminated when there is a cure/vaccine.
·     While most people will recover from this, if you become seriously ill, your best chance to recover is to have access to a medical system with the capacity to respond.
·     The best scenario is to not have to ‘recover’ and we can significantly impact the possibility of someone being exposed with a coordinated response.
·     It will be impossible to hide until a cure is available and our world is going to present more risk as people return to a new normal and social exposure is increased.
·     Society has a long history of overlooking the adaptations necessary for the people we serve to be safe – this moment in time will not be different.
 
The shutdown and stay at home orders were focused on making sure that we did not have so many COVID-19 cases that we would over run the health system capacity. We have done that in Indiana and even places where they were overrun, they are starting to recover. It also served to allow time for everyone to figure out social distancing, PPE and the business process re-engineering needed to help keep people safe.  To get ready for how to proceed moving forward.   I am actually astounded when I think about all the guidelines, policies, programs, calls, flexibilities, resources, equipment, etc. that has become available in such a short time.  It is amazing what we all can do together when focused and motivated.  
 
Now, we need to continue to put all of that to good use.  I think the best way to consider this is to look at it from the eyes of the people we serve – what should they expect from us?
 
What should the people we serve and their families expect from us?
 
·     They should expect that they are going to get services that are innovative, creative, focused on them and their participation in their home and community to help them move closer to obtaining the good things of life;
 
·     They should expect that we will recognize the current risks and we will do what is necessary to reduce their risk while providing the services in which they choose to participate.  Specifically, they can expect us to practice and role model appropriate precautions including confirmation that those they work with are symptom free, practicing social distancing, situation appropriate protective equipment such as masks and gloves, the use of sanitary practices such as hand sanitizer and good hand washing techniques;
 
·     They should expect that we have a workforce trained, ready and willing to provide the services they need;
 
·     They should expect that we will work to provide services in a manner that considers limiting exposure.  Specifically, they can expect us to creatively choose service avenues that focus on necessary home and community skills and activities using methods that limit exposure to others, avoiding crowds and places where people are not practicing precautions that might endanger others;
 
·     They should expect when they visit our business locations that we have implemented practices to limit their risk of exposure. 
 
·     They should expect that when they need to reach us, interact with us, and have information and service processes performed, they are able to do so.
 
·     They should expect us to decline participation in activities where there is a clear and present danger of exposure or activities that are not in line with governmental directives.  
 
I think we all together have developed responses, provided guidance, support, and instruction over the last two months to accomplish each of these points.   We will continue to adapt and protect.  We continue to do what we have always done which is figure out and compensate for the gaps. If you know of one, let’s address it.  
 
And we will continue to CARE HARD!
 
3/26/2020
An Update Message to CVL Stakeholders
 
As the CVL community works together diligently to provide continuity of services through these unique times, we felt it was important to touch base regarding our efforts and unwavering commitment to those we support.   We defined early on that the role we play in many people’s lives is essential to their health and wellbeing and that we would make every effort to provide services without interruption.  This truth was reinforced by the definition given in Governor Holcomb’s Stay-at Home Order, where it was recognized that helping those in need was a necessary exception to this directive.  We are focused to keep those we serve safe and healthy by providing ongoing support in ways that protect everyone involved. 
 
We have provided guidelines and protocols designed to help find creative and safe alternatives for many of the tasks we perform.  For example, quarterly and annual meetings that do not require face to face contact are now being conducted online or over the phone.  Technologies such as Facetime and texting are being used as alternative forms of contact and support.  Many supports we provide are necessarily still being done live and in-person.  We continue to directly help people access needed medical care, obtain groceries, secure and manage medications, and stay safe and healthy.  Many of those we serve would not be able to manage these things without this assistance.  We have always mandated training for our staff on methods for preventing the spread of disease.  These protocols have been further highlighted and reinforced in relation to the current pandemic to ensure everyone’s safety as we carry out these essential activities.
 
The current situation has an impact for our workers and their families in a direct financial sense. Some people we serve turn to family during this time for care and support and services that are not necessary are eliminated for protection, therefore staff are not able to fill their weekly schedules with the number of hours to which they are accustomed.  This can be tough on a family who depends on that income to survive.  We are staying on top of initiatives such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that will provide options for financial assistance so that they can be available for our team.  We have also created a unique way of providing relief in the form of partial compensation for lost hours called Assurance Pay to help fill the void created by these schedule disruptions.  While no single individual, agency, or government entity can solve the effects of this scenario, we will continue to work to make sure we are part of a combined solution so our people are taken care of.
 
Through the creative use of technology we remain open for business and are accessible by phone and email. We welcome your feedback and encourage communication as we work together to take care of one another during this stressful and unprecedented time.  We wish you and those close to you all the best.  Together we will weather this storm.
 
3/12/2020
CVL Coronavirus Response Update
A few short days ago CVL provided information to all staff about the Coronavirus stating that we held the well-being of the CVL community as our top priority.  We urged staff to remember that our training in Universal precautions helps us be knowledgeable in many of the best ways to protect ourselves and the people that we serve and asked people to be diligent about using this knowledge. We also reminded people not to report to work if they were not well and reinforced that we serve many people who would be considered at risk if exposed to such an illness and that we needed to be quick to act if they showed signs of illness.  All of these things remain true and on point.
 
However, given the last 24 hours, in which the professional and collegiate sporting world halted nearly all fan-based events, videos have been posted revealing the potential severity of this illness in otherwise healthy and vibrant individuals, and the rapid nature with which this illness is spreading our response must now adapt.  Our main concern remains the health and well-being of the people and families we serve as well as the staff and people providing support. As always, we remain committed to ensuring we are supporting people in the community successfully. Given the current threat the coronavirus poses to these goals, effective immediately and continuing while the risk for coronavirus exposure remains high, CVL will:
 
1).  Reduce the amount of different staff people in individual’s homes. 

  • Staff teaming/sharing should be limited as much as possible while continuing to support the individual well.
  • Supervisory and QA visits will, wherever possible, be conducted through calls, Facetime, or other electronic means rather than in person visits.  

2).  Reduce the risk of locations where people visit so that exposure is limited.

  • Visits to any location where there are groups of people should to be limited to only when these visits are programmatically required.  This includes visits to the CVL office(s).
  • Community work should be limited to more private and controlled environments.  For instance, mall visits may be replaced by small shop or even window shopping, etc.
  • Services should avoid any large congregation of people when an alternative exists.
  • Staff are encouraged to support people in the use of on-line ordering and delivery/pick-up and remote ways to shop and/or transact business.  
  • Our role here is to be as creative and flexible as possible to accomplish the goal while preventing exposure.  

 
3).  Enforce a stringent approach to our workplace by requiring:

  • If a worker or any member of their household have symptoms of illness, they are required to call-in sick or if possible, telecommute.  For full-time or part-time employees who do not have sick time available, they may contact their supervisor to request a waiver of their time.  
  • All office-based staff are encouraged to telecommute unless specific duties prevent it.
  • Team staff will use electronic tools (such as HiTask, Infocus, Forums, email, etc.) to communicate about work and track important items that will be more difficult when we are not face-to-face every day.
  • We will limit group activities/meetings in the near term to conference calls where possible.

 
4)  CVL will provide (if reasonably available) or reimburse the following items that become necessary to limit risk of exposure *See CDC recommended list.

  • sanitizing wipes 
  • hand sanitizer
  • gloves

While we realize we are taking an aggressive posture in our response to this health risk, we feel we must do all we can to eliminate the possibility of the devastation for the CVL Community if somehow an exposure was traced back to our failure to act aggressively enough.  The entire staff of CVL is united and committed to continuing to provide the highest quality services and supports to those who entrust us with their care and support needs.  Whether in person, online, or by phone we will continue to be available to those we serve and to leverage our will, expertise and energies to create the most thoughtful and creative solutions to overcoming this less than ideal situation and to keeping those in our care safe.  
 
Once again, rest assured that as circumstances continue to develop, one thing will remain the same: We will make our decisions with the health and well-being of the CVL community as our highest priority.
 
My Best,
Ric
 
3/8/2020
The health and safety of the CVL community is our highest priority. As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the country, I wanted to share our thoughts on what we can do together to help protect each other as we navigate this environment.
 
As this situation continues to evolve, we will closely monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials around the state. We will continue to rely on their recommendations and expertise to inform our decisions.  At this time, no one knows how severe this outbreak will be.  This uncertainty has created unrest in the world's financial markets and government health organizations, but also in nearly all of our community organizations as they evaluate and plan for how they can prepare.

 
One of the most important things for us individually is that we have been trained in the most effective ways limit the spread of coronavirus for years.  Adhering to the universal precaution training that has been part of your annual training requirements reinforces the main features of CDC's recommendations.  We know what to do.  We must be vigilant about doing it.

 
To highlight a few key points:

  • Wash your hands frequently with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds
  • Frequently clean touched surfaces
  • Try to avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Stay at home when you are sick
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. 

 
It is critical that employees do not report to work while they are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that employees remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. Many times, with the best of intentions, employees report to work even though they feel ill. We provide paid sick time and other benefits to compensate employees who are unable to work due to illness. Employees who report to work ill will be sent home in accordance with these health guidelines.
 
Lastly, a reminder that many of the people we serve could be significantly effected if they were to be exposed to a significant heath threat including the coronavirus.  Because of this heightened risk, we must remain aware of when we or others pose a health risk to them and we must be quick to act if it appears they may have signs of illness.  While this is not new to us in our work, it is important to remind ourselves of its importance.
 
Rest assured that as circumstances continue to develop, one thing will remain the same: We will make our decisions with the health and well-being of the CVL community as our highest priority.
 
My Best,
Ric