By Rhonda Frederick
President and CEO
During these very challenging times, we so appreciate the tireless work of our partners – elected officials, our peers in health and human services, vendors and supporters. Above all, I’m incredibly thankful for and proud of the 4,000 staff members of People Inc. Their dedication and talent are evident on a “typical” day, and in times like this, are even more vivid and extraordinary. We wanted to share some of the proactive measures we have taken within People Inc. to prepare and deal with this crisis.
At People Inc., the safety and well-being of people we support and our employees remain our highest priority, as the potential for community spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus continues.
At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus at People Inc. We are actively in contact with and monitoring websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NYS Department of Health, County Health Departments and the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), among others.
During this crisis, we are thankful for our emergency response model that has been in place for the past six years. Our long-standing People Inc. emergency preparedness team is meeting twice daily to ensure that we remain proactive and address access to resources, while keeping communication flowing to our staff, people we support and their families.
People Inc. has a number of measures in place, including
•Suspending community outings and operation of our day programs, and reassigning those staff members to augment our teams at residential sites. Our staff has been extremely flexible and have demonstrated exemplary commitment to our mission in light of unprecedented circumstances.
•Implementing a conservative visitors policy and working with families on arrangements while taking precautions to protect the well-being of those we support and our staff.
•Utilizing our existing telemedicine program in our residential sites, which continues to quickly assess medical concerns without automatically transporting people to crowded health care centers.
•Increasing training on cleaning protocols and product use, and practicing beyond Universal Precautions.
•Enhancing supports for our staff with 24/7 access to our employee service line and employee assistance program and a dedicated resource and information section of our employee intranet, as well as daily updates.
•Expediting and centralizing sourcing of critical supplies and establishing a secure staging area and process to get those where they are most needed.
•Continuing to plan ahead to be prepared as best we can for the future.
•Developed a coronavirus update section on our website.
•A dedicated phone line and email address have been established for people supported and their families to contact us with specific concerns related to COVID-19 coronavirus:
As a resource for people we support, a special phone line for non-emergency help has been established, which is 716-322-7070.
Our longstanding People Inc. emergency closing line is updated regularly as decisions are made to suspend any agency program. You can call the two available phone lines for closure updates:
Thank you for your support as we work to ensure the safety of the people we support and our staff.