Consumers Committee Listening Session Minutes: March 24 and April 7, 2020

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CONSUMERS COMMITTEE

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 1:00PM – 2:30PM

By Zoom Videoconference

M I N U T E S

  • People are having access issues. Objective is to hear from consumers
  • Food in SROs is a problem
    • No cooking facilities
  • Transportation is a problem
  • Concern about income and ability to pay bills
  • Concern about how to get food
    • Folks don’t know where programs are
  • RWPA is changing to service delivery
    • Providers are doing pantry bags
    • Lifted cap on meals per week
    • Switch from congregate to carry home meals
    • Waived requirement for physician referral for delivery
  • Public Health Solutions website has a site locator that can be used to find services
  • Movement of money must follow the rules of the Council
  • Do people in SROs qualify for meal delivery?
  • Two (2) home delivery contracts
    • Grantee will check in to survey capacity of agencies to ramp up delivery
  • Tri-County:
    • Need for resources
    • Strong need for transportation to access food and supplies
    • Food distribution situation forced everyone into cabs to go to the grocery store. Agencies are no longer producing pantry bags.
    • How are consumers supposed to access food voucher gift cards
    • Food limitations are severe in time of crisis.
      • Not allowed to purchase frozen meals
      • Cans of soup
      • Need for flexibility
    • Request for additional shopping sites and a richer resource guide for the area
  • Once finances are depleted what are people to do?
  • No toilet paper in the city
  • Allowing intakes over the phone
  • Crazy waitlists for delivery services – requires a wait of week or more
  • Can agencies with pantries stay open in Tri-County
    • Grantee will investigate
  • Housing
    • Ensuring a robust emergency preparedness plan.
    • Receiving requests for rent arrears support and additional housing assistance
    • Relaxed standards but ensured that crisis intervention services are available
    • Working on protocols on how to best deliver services in light of COVID-19
  • A lot of anxiety and fear about getting infected. People are scared. No directive from the management. People are afraid. Some are on dialysis.
  • Concerns around housing – disinfection and cleanliness.
    • Plan to provide assistance to long term survivors
    • 47 people in the building
    • People running out of SNAP benefits
    • People are afraid they will be forgotten
  • In Tri-County many buses are not charging for rides
  • Some utilities are not requiring immediate payment – no shut offs – arranegements possible
  • Spectrum offering free wifi if you have a child at home
  • Can’t get gloves, masks, alcohol – both agency and insurance. Can only get things in cases
  • Can we get the federal money without being penalized by HASA?
  • Is it possible to donate blood with antibodies for study?
  • Be careful of spreading misinformation – no evidence that more people with HIV are getting COVID
  • Necessary to take care of self
  • Congregate housing
    • Any plan to reach out to these clients – make sure they have the basic info on social distancing
      • May not have TV or the internet
      • Make sure that clientele of all programs is ok
  • How can we create directives that ensure agencies do all of this
  • Social isolation is a serious issue
  • Possible to do check ins with clients –
  • Find out if clients have a thermometer
  • Would guidance on how to conduct a check in be helpful for agencies?
  • Programs have been contacted and are working hard to meet the needs of their clients
  • Mental health treatment being conducted online
  • Selfhelp.net is a good resource
  • What privacy is in place for accessing data for clients
    • Providers are bound by laws
  • It is unclear what programs are still open and updated operating hours.
    • Important to call or check the website
    • Perception is that all programs are closed and everything is being done remotely – By and large this is true
  • Home page of nyhiv.org has a link to a resource guide.
  • Iris House is open
  • Has the intake been streamlined –
    • Is able to be conducted over the phone
    • Being paid 1/12’th of their award
    • Eventually the intake will have to be completed
      • Currently not checking
      • Eligibility will need to be completed by time DOHMH resumes site visits
    • Assessments are necessary to understand services required
  • Programs are getting paid regardless – if people do not qualify, strong likelihood agency will not be provided
  • Are homebound individuals being checked on – agencies that have homebound clients
  • Home attendant has to come into a persons home – clock in and clock out.
    • Considered essential work
    • Agencies should give attendants guidance
    • Fear of people coming into people’s home due to the virus
      • PPE not being provided in many instances
  • Media said that HIV meds may be useful in the fight against COVID-19
  • Important to understand how long the virus lives on different surfaces

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 1:00PM – 2:30PM

  • Agreement to open regular Consumers Committee to hosting a town hall on COVID-19 & HIV.
  • Ethical guidelines around who gets the ventilator, who gets priority – question of state guidelines around HIV
    • Least likely to survive are the least likely to get a ventilator
  • GMHC is doing meal delivery, and no reported COVID deaths
  • Need for data on how people are being impacted
  • Ask Oni to explain the data breakdown along neighborhood and race
  • HASA wanted a hospital paperwork before they would release rental assistance
  • Shortage of basic medicine in certain places. Zinc, Tylenol,
  • South Bronx is a hot spot
    • Map of zip codes
  • Consumers working in congregate home – has symptoms, but no fever, cant get test – but is an essential worker  – could be exposing people
  • Recruit from FACES – to help bring in consumers
  • People are living in severe isolation- so isolated and so confused – not taking meds anymore. No one is asking about meds
  • People aren’t allowing case managers into the homes
  • Grantee has asked programs to check in at least once and as necessary thereafter
  • Is it possible to get a buddy system among peers –
  • Real need to expand the voices of the community on the call – possibly a lot we are not hearing
  • Should invite VOCAL
    • Can recruit and market for the next Consumers Committee
  • What can be done to address social isolation?
  • Issues with implementing a new program
    • Many staff are working from home
    • Question of confidentiality
    • Do consumers really want it
    • Can’t be procured
    • Can system afford it
    • A volunteer program isn’t possible
  • Could be a volunteer
  • Congregate, scatter site, 50-50 program – where you have 2 people in a unit with shared common areas.
    • 2 housing programs are checking in with clients daily
    • Something peer based would be being built from the ground-up outside of that structure
  • How do we start thinking about addressing social isolation?
  • The 50-50 programs need more guidance. Lack of adherence to social distancing guidelines
  • Need is likely to grow the longer the crisis continues
  • Lack of social distancing guidance in general
  • PPE is not being provided by agencies with staff going for home visits.
    • Should be required.
    • How long are the masks effective?
    • Depends on agency – some are well trained and understand how to be safer