A recent snapshot survey conducted by five Illinois provider associations -The Arc, Community Behavioral Healthcare Association, Illinois Association For Behavioral Health, Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, and The Institute on Public Policy For People With Disabilities – of clinic-based and residential provider organizations includes information on how providers are adjusting pay, payrolls, and operations during the emergency.
- 5% of the organizations had already laid off staff members
- 20% of the organizations had increased hourly staff reimbursement
The rate increases for hourly staff were implemented using a wide range of criteria. Responding executives reported hourly increases between $1.00 – $5.00 per hour, and $20 per day incentive payments. Some organizations were providing overtime pay for all hours worked, or double pay for staff in residential settings and/or those working residents who tested positive for COVID-19. Some were using lump sum bonuses.
The pay increases reflect the stress and fear of the risks of providing residential services for consumers with disabilities.
Executives across the country, running these critical residences, are using a variety of approaches to keep their services going. One example is using empty hotels to house consumers who test positive for COVID-19. Remedies Renewing Lives, which offers substance use disorder treatment, and runs a 62-bed domestic violence shelter in Rockford, Illinois, is one of several health care and shelter organizations partnering with the local housing authority to put people suspected of having the virus or diagnosed with it in hotel rooms to contain the virus.
This “hoteling option” can also be used for overflow at local shelters, and treatment facilities, said Gary Halbach, chief executive officer of Remedies Renewing Lives. And while it hasn’t yet been needed, it’s a relief to know it’s there, “because it’s a question of when it’s going to be needed, not if,” he added. “It’s like the Wild West and it changes every day.”
This has also been a successful tactic for the Hazelden-Betty Ford Foundation, which instituted a requirement that all consumers have a “fever discharge plan” identifying a person (not public transportation) who will pick them up if they spike a fever and must be discharged. Everyone who comes onto a Hazelden-Betty Ford campus gets a temperature reading.
“That fever discharge plan is key to us staying open,” said Mark G. Mishek, the nonprofit’s president and chief executive officer. In January, when news of an outbreak was first heard, the organization started asking people during intake about whether they had traveled to China. Hazelden-Betty Ford team members started taking everyone’s temperature on each campus a month ago, and moved all of its outpatient treatment to virtual two weeks ago. To learn more about how agencies manage hazard pay and other differentials, download the Guide to Payroll Rules Used by Agencies ebook or the myAttendance fact sheet.