Girls happily reading their books - at Orchard Place Des Moines

CEO Anne Starr Email Update to Employees - March 31, 2020

CEO Anne Starr's Email Update to Employees

Dear All, 

Today's encouragement is sent by Orchard Place Operating Board Vice President, Marcus Miller. Marcus says, 

"This is one of my favorite quotes. Thanks for all you're doing. " 

"Faith in action is love, and love in action is service." 

Mother Theresa 

Sanctuary on! Anne 


· Remember, we have an OP Children's Fund for families to use for various unmet needs such as food, housing, transportation. This fund was made possible by Variety the Children's Charity. Contact your supervisor if you aren't sure how to access these emergency funds. 

· Congress has passed legislation to fund special programs to help people and businesses to get through this pandemic. One such program allocates federal dollars to fund sick leave and FMLA under specific circumstances. (See Val's email from this morning). We think it will positively impact benefit OP employees. OPs Human Resources department is working through the rules. More to come. There are enhanced unemployment benefits for those temporarily laid off due to the pandemic, and the state unemployment office will administer those benefits. 

· The Iowa Medicaid Enterprise has applied for special waivers to the federal government to ensure that during this time, individuals on Medicaid don't lose eligibility if they don't get paperwork completed or cannot get into their local income maintenance workers to update their status. This is very important to our clients as many are Medicaid members, and any lapse in coverage means they are vulnerable to not accessing necessary physical and mental health care. 

· Most of us at Corporate, PACE, and CGC are now working from home. There is a small presence in each building to handle phones, deliveries, and IT needs, etc. We are rapidly learning to grow in how to work remotely.

CGC Specific: 

· Therapists are in the process of contacting all youth and families on their caseloads. School-based and Center-based are accepting new clients both off the waiting lists and from new phone contacts. If someone in the community is seeking mental health services, they will contact CGC at the usual number, 244-2267. We are here now more than ever! 

· Psychiatric providers are all on telehealth and accepting referrals as well. Dr. Mandler reports they are overcoming challenges like ordering labs and is grateful for all the support the team has received. 

PACE Specific: 

· Engaging with BHIS clients via telehealth has been challenging. PACE is reaching out to other OP team members to ensure that families stay connected and are getting mental health and other needs met. Integration at its finest. 

· PACE program staff have had requests for food. PACE has been putting together food baskets for families during this time. 

Campus Specific: 

· Beginning today, all staff will have temperatures taken daily to ensure we are monitoring one of the primary symptoms of COVID 19. Thanks to DMPS for helping to gather more infrared thermometers to help with monitoring. 

· Campus has an identified isolation program developed should one or more of the youth develop COVID symptoms. The campus has also now received much needed personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, and sanitizer. 

· Campus has 86 of 88 beds full at this time, and families continue to visit their youth via telephones and can have home passes. We have created specific guidance for them about home visits and containment of COVID. Daily communication continues to go out to PMIC families.