Coronavirus is impacting how Early Intervention provides services to families. Please read this letter that explains to families what to expect.
Data Manager Updates
Do Not Handle: EIIS Machine
Oftentimes IT support staff at your program will do updates to all computers within your agency or program to keep up with security, virus and browser updates. Although their intent is good they do not always know what is best for the computer that houses your EIIS Client data system. PLEASE do NOT allow them to do any updates (virus updates are okay) on this computer prior to discussing this with DPH. DPH will be able to identify if there will be an adverse impact on your EIIS system and its transmission functionality. Please let your IT staff know that EIIS is only supported on a Windows 7 operating system with Office 2010 on a 32-bit PC. You should contact Linda Mosesso at (617) 624-5521 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding changes to the EIIS computer at your program. Thank you.
Linda’s Rule of Thumb
If you have ever talked to Linda Mosesso, the EIIS and TSS Help Desk Support person, then you know Linda’s Rule of Thumb: Enter data today, transmit tonight. This ensures that DPH has the most up-to-date data from your EI program. This is especially important for programs whose EIIS machines are not backed-up by program or agency staff. About every six months or so one EI program has a major issue with the computer that houses either the EIIS Client or TSS application. Some examples include a computer hard drive crash, a stolen machine, a lightning strike, and a fire (yes, all of these have happened). Once your data is lost DPH is able to create a new database for you based on your most recent transmission. If that transmission is one month old and you have no back-ups at your program then it will result in a lot of work on your part to identify and re-enter one month’s worth of forms. New staff, especially, need to be aware of the reason for and importance of daily data transmission to DPH.
The Early Intervention Operational Standards, Health and Safety, Staff Requirements state that Early Intervention providers comply with all state and federal requirements regarding employee background record checks. As part of the FY 15 re-procurement process, additional language regarding Sex Offender Record Checks (SORI) was included in contract requirements and is an EEC requirement for all staff providing direct care in Child Care settings. It is the expectation of the Department that all staff providing direct services to children have a SORI as well as a CORI documented in their employee file. Programs will have until July 2016 to come into compliance with this new requirement for current staff. Additional information regarding SORI checks may be found on the following website (https://sorb.chs.state.ma.us/sorbpublic/standardSearchforSexOffenders.action) for level 3 offenders and level 2 offenders classified after July 2013. Programs may also access this website (www.mass.gov/eopss/crime-prev-personal-sfty/sex-offenders/obtaining-information-about-sex-offenders.html) and go to the last subheading which has this link to check individual sex offenders using a form (www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/sorb/request-tosorb.pdf). If there are a large number of applicants programs want to check then they should contact SORB directly at (978) 740-6400 to see whether they can send over a spreadsheet. Additional questions may be directed to your Regional Specialist.
Effective July 1, 2015 all questions related to transportation and the PT-1 implementation should be directed to Sandra Mulcahy, Brokerage Operations Manager, at Sandy.Mulcahy@state.ma.us or 617-847-6559. Perry Fong, Ed Bailey and Gail Hill have taken advantage of the Early Retirement.
The Department will continue to share information regarding the communication flow to EIPs once the PT-1 form has been received by MassHealth and questions regarding the process. Please refer to the FAQ based on questions from the May webinar. The following are questions related to the July 1, 2015 implementation for new requests for EI transportation on MH eligible children:
- The current PT-1 form does not allow us to enter the frequency and duration of 36 months/5 days per week.
The current forms need to be printed so this information can be entered by hand. Unfortunately this is the only solution available at this time.
- If the EIP obtains the pediatrician’s signature on the PT-1 form, where do the local programs send the completed PT-1 at MassHealth?
EIPs may fax completed, signed PT-1 forms to MassHealth at fax 617-988-2925.
- Which MassHealth products have a transportation benefit?
Any child on Mass Health Standard, Care Plus or CommonHealth would be eligible for non emergency transportation as part of their benefit package.
For additional information regarding MassHealth eligibility categories and associated services, the provider regulations can be found at the following link –
Specifically, pages 1-6 through 1-16 describes the different MassHealth eligibility categories.
Please see the attached FAQ form the May webinar for responses to additional questions regarding the implementation process. Additional questions may be directed to your Regional Specialist. Thanks you for your patience in this process.
Policy to Practice: Follow-up with Referral Sources—What Can Be Shared?
There’s that recurring “reality check” question…The one about what, if any information can be shared back with a referral source particularly when an EI program has been unable to locate a family, complete an eligibility evaluation or when parents have declined services. Some referral sources follow-up directly with a program (vs. a parent) with inquiries about the “status” of their referral.
Two important regulatory provisions should be considered: confidentiality and child find.
Confidentiality: The 2011 Part C regulations clarified that the confidentiality requirements attach once an infant or toddler is referred to an EI program. This would mean a program would need to obtain consent for the disclosure of information related to the status of the referral or the outcome of the eligibility determination. (Note: there are some exceptions to disclosures without consent which include, but are not limited to disclosures between participating agencies, LEA notification without an no opt-out, disclosures to DCF during an open investigation).
Child Find: The amended regulations also strengthened the language related to the development of a state’s comprehensive child find system (aka “outreach”) including “rigorous standards for appropriately identifying infants and toddlers” (34 CFR 303.302(a)(3)) and that specific higher risk populations are “identified, located and evaluated”. The regulations require a referral source to make a referral within 7 days of identifying an infant or toddler suspected of having a disability, but removed the language that the EI program needed to inform the referral source of the outcome of the referral with parental consent.
Most programs have some sort of formal or informal practice of notifying a referral source of the outcome of a referral.
A program may contact a referral source (without parental consent) to confirm that the contact info provided (parent/child’s name, address, phone number) is accurate when a family is not responsive to the program’s outreach or cannot be located. This would not be considered a violation of the Part C confidentiality provisions because the program is only inquiring about the accuracy of information already provided by the referral source. But, it might be enough to suggest that some additional follow-up by the referral source with the family is needed.
If your program typically requests consent from parents to notify referral sources of the outcome/status of the referral, you could inform the referral source in advance or when they make the referral that if they do not hear back from your program, it was because consent was not obtained (for whatever reason). Without consent, you are only able to confirm the contact information for the child/parent. Without consent, you may not identify barriers or activities (intake/eligibility evaluation) that have/have not occurred.
When a parent/guardian self-refers on the “recommendation of” their pediatrician, child care provider, etc. always remember for purposes of confidentiality the parent is the referral source – not the person who recommends a referral. In this situation, a parent would need to provide consent for the disclosure of information related to the status/outcome of the referral.
If you have additional questions, please be in touch with your Regional Specialist or Mary Dennehy-Colorusso.