As you are aware, businesses, individuals, and organizations around the world are making preparations related to COVID-19, and the state of Indiana is no exception. Due to the community-based nature of First Steps services, the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services, Bureau of Child Development Services is issuing several temporary policies for families, service providers and service coordinators who wish to postpone First Steps services or use alternative methods for service delivery.
These temporary policies are outlined below and include suspension of the 2019 make-up session policy and permission to provide some services virtually using video technology. Implementation of allowable tele-services will be at the discretion of the family and service provider and the policy is not intended to allow entire organizations to stop providing in-home services altogether. For example, if no positive COVID-19 cases have been identified in a particular county, it may not be appropriate for the providers in that county to utilize virtual sessions.
The following temporary policies will be in effect until May 31, 2020, or when Indiana’s public health emergency declaration is lifted, whichever date is soonest.
Please note that for allowed virtual services, providers are asked to delay billing until further guidance is issued. This guidance is coming soon.
POLICY & PROCEDURES
Any interruptions or delays in First Steps services occurring as a result of COVID-19 must be clearly documented in the child and family’s early intervention record (EI record). All required forms and checklists and related guidance are included at the end of this announcement and will also be available online at https://www.in.gov/fssa/ddrs/3399.htm.
The make-up session policy dated Oct. 31, 2019, will be temporarily suspended for all providers until May 31, 2020, or when Indiana’s public health emergency declaration is lifted, whichever date is soonest. This means make-up sessions will be allowed but not required. The policy being suspended can be found here: https://www.in.gov/fssa/files/First_Steps_Make-Up_Session_Policy.pdf
Fourteen day break from services – family initiated
Fourteen day break from services – provider initiated
Remote methods for service coordination
IFSP with service coordination services only
Methods for evaluation and assessment
Virtual sessions for allowable IFSP services
Virtual sessions for First Steps services must be provided using videoconference technology in accordance with the following procedures:
Virtual sessions for family training and counseling only
Face-to-face sheets for virtual sessions
The requirement for families to sign the face-to-face sheet after each visit will be waived for virtual sessions. Ongoing providers will be required to use the face-to-face sheet template included in this memo for each virtual session and must send the completed document to the family as soon as possible after each session either by secure email or mail if email is not available. The required face-to-face sheet will also be available online at https://www.in.gov/fssa/ddrs/3399.htm.
Ongoing service providers will not be reimbursed for phone calls, text messages or emails.
Best Practice COVID-19
In an effort to keep our First Steps families and personnel safe and healthy, the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services Bureau of Child Development Services is closely monitoring the 2019 novel coronavirus or COVID-19 in conjunction with other state and local partners. It is important that everyone continues everyday preventative actions and stay informed with accurate information.
Specific resources for business, employers and healthcare workers:
Stay informed with accurate information: