Area Agency on Aging-Five County is continuing to closely monitor the COVID-19 virus situation in Southwest Utah. At this time, every effort is being made to continue to provide critical services, while taking into account the safety directives provided by Local and State Health Department, State and Federal Partners and elected officials.
Since Monday, March 16th the Five County Association of Governments Tonaquint Building and Main Street Cedar City Building doors have been locked. Signs have been posted on the door informing clients that we are not accepting WALK-IN appointments at this time. Clients have been informed that they can make an appointment by calling 435-673-3548. However, nobody who is sick has been permitted to enter the buildings. Additionally, anyone with a pre-scheduled appointment has been required to sanitize their hands as they enter and exit with hand-sanitizer we have provided at the entrance area. Also, meeting spaces have been sanitized between appointments. Thus far, clients have been understanding and appreciative of these precautions.
Home & Community Based Case Management Services (Alternatives and Caregiver Support): Home visits for case management have been discontinued until further notice, however case management services are being provided via telephone. Case managers have been accessible to their clients via telephone. In addition, case managers have begun working with each client to develop an individual action plan for dealing with COVID-19 and potential interruption in services. In addition, providers for these programs are being contacted regarding their agency continuity of care plan; but we continue to encourage clients to have a back-up plan in place. At this time, we will not be adding any new clients to the program.
Home and Community Based Case Management services (Aging Waiver & New Choices Waiver): Face-to-face case management services will be suspended at least through April 30, 2020. Case management will now be provided via telephone and or HIPAA compliant telehealth mechanisms. No new clients will be added to the program at this time. The HCBS Director and the case managers continue to work with providers to monitor potential interruptions in client services as result of COVID-19. And, work with each client to implement an action plan for dealing with potential interruption in services. The State Medicaid Agency is currently working to submit a request to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services to allow for temporary change in services or service delivery to address interruptions in services and meet additional needs resulting from COVID-19.
Veteran Directed HCBS Case Management: Case management will be provided via telephone calls. Case managers will also be working with each client, their personal attendant to implement the action plan for dealing with COVID-19 and potential interruption in services as needed.
Benefit Enrollment Center: All group presentations and off-site appointments have been canceled until further notice. All BEC activities are being provided via telephone calls and/or other technology. No in person appoints will be scheduled at this time. Any required documentation needed to apply for benefits can be mailed to our agency or dropped off in person to our office. This choice and further instruction is being shared with clients on a case-by-case basis. Our BEC lead has been in contact with the National Council on Aging, as well as other BEC sites across the country in efforts to determine best practices and further develop a service plan.
Veteran Service Officer: All appointments will be done via telephone calls and/or other technology until further notice. No walk-ins will be accepted at this time and in-person visits will not be scheduled. Our VSO has been in contact with current clients and Veteran Administration partners, and remains focused on connecting Veterans with benefits.
Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent Programs: SCP and FGP will not be serving until further notice. It was decided that because both the SCP and the clients they serve are both in the high-risk population that we will be putting the SCP on hold until further notice. Additionally, with schools closed the FGP will not have a site at which to serve, thus the program will be on hold until further notice. However, the SCP will have the option of checking in on their client via phone calls and the Program Coordinator has been working to contact each client and volunteer to check on them and assist, as needed, with a backup plan.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman will continue to manage any resident rights issues and complaints; however, based on a directive from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, all complaints will be handled via telephone and/or as possible, via video conferencing. All routine site visits have been halted until further notice. The Lead Ombudsman has been in contact with State and Federal partners and the Ombudsman team has been working to contact each facility via phone call throughout the week. A survey has been developed to assess the statutes and needs of facilities and residents at this time.
Senior Health Insurance Information Program and Senior Medicare Patrol: All group presentation and/or any off-site counseling sessions have been canceled until further notice. SHIP counseling sessions are now being provided via telephone. In person appointments will not be scheduled at this time. We are working on ways to use technology and media to continue providing education related to Medicare benefits and Medicare Fraud to our beneficiaries.
Our Annual Senior’s Conference Scheduled for May 1, 2020 at Festival Hall in Cedar City, Utah has been postponed until August 28, 2020. We have posted a notice of the cancellation and change in dates to our Conference link on our Website. Additionally, we have contacted those registered to attend as well as vendors.
All Caregiver educational classes, including Dementia Dialogues, Caregiver Academy, Dealing with Dementia, have been cancelled until further notice, and registered attendees have been notified. We are looking at options for Online/Video conferencing. However, this is not allowable for some of the classes. An update will be provided if this option becomes available.
SENIOR CENTERS: Senior Centers are operated at the County level, AAA-Five County has remained in close contact with each of the Counties and their designated Senior Center leaders regarding the services they provide. At this time, each county has a unique plan, but Home Delivered Meals will continue in every county. Further information can be found in a separate update.
No Additional Changes to Report at This Time:
All Evidence-Based Health Prevention and Promotion Classes sponsored by Five County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) have been cancelled until further notice. We are looking at options for Online/Video conferencing if allowed and will update you if this option becomes available.
·We will be continuing our Telephone Reassurance Program as part of RSVP. This program provides regular calls with homebound seniors to help reduce social isolation and loneliness and to check on the individual well-being. In an effort to support more individuals who may be homebound, as a result of the COVID-19, we are looking to be able to assist additional individuals who are or may now be isolated and need someone to check in on them. If you or someone you know is homebound and needs a call. Or if you are an older adult 55+ who would like to volunteer to call homebound individuals; contact: Maria Bailey at 435-673-3548 x103 or RSVP@fivecounty.utah.gov.
For all our Programs and Services, we appreciate your patience as we work through these changes to normal operating procedures. We are continually receiving new information and updated directives related to COVID-19 and service delivery. In addition, there has been an increase in calls to our agency. As a result, we ask for your patience as we try to respond to individual calls and request for assistance. For more information on our services, including updates and ideas related to how to stay connected during this time of social distancing, please visit our website: https://www.areaagencyonagingfivecounty.org/and Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AgingFiveCountyUtah/
The following are the recommended links to obtain accurate and up to date information regarding COVID-19: