November 23, 2020

Pathfinder Services COVID-19 Update – Important

Please read this important information regarding Pathfinder Services operations and COVID-19.

In anticipation of nearly all our counties changing to a red status this week, we have made the difficult decision to close all day services and offices effective November 26, 2020 through January 4, 2021.  Our priority has been and will continue to be keeping those we serve and our employees safe.

We understand the impact of these decisions and we do not make them lightly.  The continued spread of COVID-19 throughout northeast Indiana has put an enormous strain on our healthcare systems in all our communities, including bed and nursing capacity.  Please understand that this closure is not due to an outbreak of COVID-19 at Pathfinder Services.  This is a preventative measure to be a good community partner and not add to the extraordinary strain on our local communities dealing with high positivity and widespread community outbreaks.

So, what does this mean for services?

Kids Kampus, Resource Connection, and Outsource Manufacturing will continue to operate with safety parameters in place.

Community Supports Day Services in Huntington will be open to those individuals on the Family Supports Waiver with safety parameters in place.  All other Day Services will be closed.  We will work to provide engaging virtual options for individuals to participate in while day services are closed.  All staff who are affected by this closure will be contacted by their supervisor for further guidance on their work schedules and locations.  Your work and expertise are still needed whether in day services or in a residential home.

Community Supports Residential Services will continue to provide the necessary care for those we serve.  We do ask families to consider the safety of their loved ones, roommates, and staff by limiting all visitation to only what is absolutely necessary during this time.  Please remember we do have virtual options to keep families and guardians in contact with loved ones.

All Administration Buildings will be closed with staff working remotely.

We recognize this is a difficult situation for everyone.  Now more than ever, we are in this together.  Please continue to follow local and state health guidelines to protect yourself and our individuals supported.  Stay safe!

Danielle Tips

President and CEO

November 10, 2020

COVID-19 Policies and Planning for the Holidays

Please read this important information regarding COVID-19 policies and planning for the holidays.

We continue to monitor local, state, and national guidelines regarding COVID-19 to ensure our policies and procedures are in alignment with best practices.  As health practitioners and Indiana state officials gain more and more knowledge about COVID-19, our access to local, quality data also improves.  As we watch the data, we continue to see our communities impacted by increased COVID cases.

With what we know, and in preparation of the upcoming holidays, we have reviewed and updated our internal procedures.  From this point forward, we will be aligning our procedures to utilize objective state data in making decisions regarding program closures.

Indiana uses a color-coded system that measures weekly cases and the seven (7) day positivity rate in each county and statewide.  State officials update this every Wednesday.  For our programming, we will utilize the Indiana County Guidelines in collaboration with positive cases in our agency.  Programming decisions will be made every Thursday in preparation for the following week in order for families to plan for any closures.

Additionally, we have reviewed recent guidance released by the Indiana State Department of Health for holiday visitations. Per Indiana guidance:

“Because most individuals living in long-term care facilities fall into the category of increased risk, the state Department of Health strongly recommends against families taking persons who reside in long-term care facilities to their homes or to gatherings for holiday events. This recommendation does not apply to residents who have been diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Such individuals, however, must meet CDC criteria for discontinuing transmission-based precautions.”

Based on these Indiana State Health Department recommendations, Pathfinder Services has implemented the following holiday guidelines:

  • Family members can visit individuals for the holidays as long as there is not a current outbreak in the home.  Family members are asked to schedule in advance to reduce potential exposure.  All family members will be asked to screen themselves upon arrival.
  • For individuals who are at higher risk, technology will be available for virtual visits. Family members are asked to schedule in advance to ensure the technology is available.
  • If an individual does leave their home to attend a family gathering, we strongly encourage all individuals to follow Indiana guidelines including wearing face masks, socially distancing, washing hands, and sanitizing high-contact surfaces frequently.
  • When the individual returns, they will be on heightened monitoring and observed for symptoms for a 14-day period.

We encourage all families to carefully evaluate the risk for their loved one and roommates prior to making holiday plans.  Virtual, in-home, and out-of-home visits are available based on the needs of the individual.

It is important to note that this policy is subject to change based upon environmental conditions brought on by the pandemic, such as an increased infection rate and/or hospitalizations, and upon state and local guidance. Should an individual or employee test positive for COVID-19, these plans may change to protect our individuals and employees.  Pathfinder Services, Inc. may implement additional guidance at any time to promote safety in our communities.

The full Indiana State Department of Health Holiday Guidance can be found here: https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/files/IN_COVID-19_LTC%20holiday%20guidance%2011.6.20.pdf

Thank you for all you continue to do to keep yourself and the individuals we support safe, healthy, and happy.

Danielle Tips

President and CEO

November 4, 2020

COVID-19 General Protocol

Pathfinder Services, Inc. values the health and safety of our team and everyone we serve and has instituted specific COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols which outline the requirements and steps necessary to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

As we operate safely, we will seek input from families and IDT members to ensure a balance between health and safety issues and meaningful activities based upon specific circumstances.

Pathfinder Services, Inc. will adhere to the following guidance and guidelines in its decision-making process:

  • Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), the Indiana State Department of Health and other authorities;
  • The needs, risk factors and abilities of our participants and staff;
  • Available resources for PPE; staffing; training; and social distancing.

To read the full protocol, please click here.

October 30, 2020

Closing Extended for Huntington and Plymouth Community Supports Day Service Programs

Dear Family Members and Guardians,

We are continuing to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in the areas served by Pathfinder Services.  As continues to be the case, I am reaching out to you with an update in the spirit of truth and transparency.

We have seen an increased rate of positive COVID-19 cases in Huntington and were moved up to a higher alert status by the health department just this week.  For our residents in Plymouth, there has been a State of Emergency declared in Marshall County as a result of increased positive cases.

With safety as a top priority, we are extending the closing of our Community Supports Day Programs in Huntington to everyone except those who live at home with their families for another week, until 11/9/2020.  We want to ensure those we serve who live with their families have the option to continue Day Services with the knowledge that the locations will be thoroughly cleaned, and that social distancing will be mandated.

We are also extending the closing of our Community Supports Day Programs in Plymouth by an extra week, also until 11/9/20.

As has been the case, this is a very fluid situation and things could change very quickly.  We are following guidance from local health departments and county governments into consideration as we make decisions that are the best for those we serve, our staff, and the communities.

All Day Services staff members should stay in contact their supervisor regarding job placement.

As we continue to navigate the unknowns and fluidity of this pandemic, I ask that you continue take precautions to protect yourselves, your loved ones, and those we serve.  Please continue to wash your hands, monitor for symptoms, and follow the governor’s mask up order. Please be diligent in cleaning and wiping down high-touch surfaces.

If you have any questions or if anyone reaches out to you about this situation, please contact and direct all inquiries to Communications Coordinator Nicole Hahn at 260-519-3837 or [email protected]

Thank you for everything you do!

Danielle Tips

President and CEO

October 22, 2020

Plymouth Day Service Program Impacted by COVID-19

Dear family members and guardians,

COVID continues to be an evolving situation monitored closely by many members of our team. We continue to use experts and gather facts when making decisions and plans that impact operations and the safety of our individuals supported and staff.  We have been in contact with our local health departments and we were notified that Marshall county is now operating under a State of Emergency due to local hospitals currently operating at capacity.

Per Resolution 2020-32, a public health disaster emergency declaration for Marshall County, directs all public offices and employees of the county to exercise the “utmost diligence in the discharge of duties required of them for the duration of the emergency and in execution of emergency laws, regulations, and directives whether state or local.”

As a result, and with safety as a top priority, we are closing our Community Supports Day Programs in Plymouth until 11/2/2020.  We understand routine and consistency is important for the individuals we support and their families, and as such, we do not make this decision lightly.

At this time, visitation still remains open.  We believe considerations should continue to be made on an individual basis with their health in mind. We do ask you to use your best judgment and evaluate the risk versus the benefit of the visit on the individual and their roommate(s) while the county operates under a State of an Emergency.

If you chose to take an individual out of the home, we ask that you avoid large crowds, department stores, restaurants, etc. during these visits where the risk of exposure could be higher.  We also request that there be no out-of-town visits. In accordance with Indiana’s Back on Track Plan, please encourage the use of face masks, social distancing, and good hand hygiene while in the community.

As we continue to navigate the unknowns and fluidity of this pandemic, I ask for your patience and support as we try to balance the needs and safety of our individuals and our employees.

Thank you for everything you do!

Danielle Tips

President and CEO

October 19, 2020

Huntington Day Service Programs Impacted by COVID-19

Dear family members and guardians,

As continues to be the case, I am reaching out to you in the spirit of the belief that information is power, and transparency supports a culture of trust and open dialogue.

We have had several staff members and at least one resident in one of our group homes in Huntington test positive for COVID-19.  We are also still awaiting a few test results.

As a result, and with safety as a top priority, we are closing our Community Supports Day Programs in Huntington beginning tomorrow to everyone except those who live at home with their families until 11/2/2020.  We want to ensure those we serve who live with their families have the option to continue Day Services with the knowledge that the locations will be thoroughly cleaned, and that social distancing will be mandated.

We believe it is important to use experts and gather facts when making decisions and plans that impact operations and the safety of our individuals supported and staff.  We have been in contact with our local health department, Indiana State Department of Health, and the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities.

As we continue to navigate the unknowns and fluidity of this pandemic, I have asked our staff members to continue to take precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and those we serve.  We will all continue to wash our hands, monitor for symptoms, and follow the governor’s mask up order.  We are also being diligent in cleaning and wiping down high-touch surfaces.

If you have any questions or if anyone reaches out to you about this situation, please contact and direct all inquiries to Communications Coordinator Nicole Hahn at 260-519-3837 or [email protected]

Thank you,

Danielle Tips

President and CEO

September 28, 2020

Town Halls with President and CEO Danielle Tips

Dear family members and guardians,

I can’t believe that it has already been eight weeks since I started as President and CEO at Pathfinder Services.  In these first two months, I have been meeting with staff, board members, community leaders, and your loved ones.  It is clear that our workforce is dedicated to the mission of Pathfinder Services.

I wanted to take a moment to tell you a little bit about me and offer some virtual town hall meeting opportunities for you to get to know me even better.

I grew up in Huntington County and have worked in the developmental disability service organization most of my life.  I actually began my career 12-years ago as a Caseworker providing direct care at Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana.  I worked my way up through the company, serving as Vice President of Health and Residential Supports for three years before accepting the position as President and CEO of Pathfinder Services.

I am glad to be back in Huntington meeting new people and getting reacquainted with others.  My husband and I have two daughters who are already adjusting well to new schools, meeting new friends, and involving themselves in creative activities.

Though I have met many of you and your loved ones, I know I still have many people to meet.  I hope to have the opportunity to meet all of you at some point as I continue to settle into my role.

I’m sure many of you have questions for me related to my leadership approach and what I see for the future of Pathfinder Services.  In order to answer some of your questions, I will be hosting two virtual town hall meetings in October.

The first meeting will run from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, October 12.  You can join the meeting here:

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

or via phone at +1 260-247-6267 Conference ID: 495 116 883#

The second meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 14 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.  You can join the meeting here:

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

or via phone at +1 260-247-6267   Conference ID: 425 275 107#

I hope you are able to join me for one of these meetings.  I feel very fortunate to have joined this organization and I look forward to our future together.

If you ever have any questions or concerns, please email me at [email protected] or call me at 260-356-0500.

March 21, 2020

I want to thank everyone for adapting to a fast-changing environment causing all of us to make changes in our work and personal lives. For me, being the ripe old age of 67, I am even more diligent of limiting my contacts and washing, washing, and more washing my hands or using hand sanitizer. I am now aware of how much I have been touching my face as well. Later on in this communication, I have included an article sent to me by a physician friend to let me know that personal hygiene and infection control can keep us safe.

The first good news is that as of today, we do not currently have anyone we serve, support, or employ that has a confirmed case of the virus. All the measures and extra precautions you are taking to avoid contact and infection are working, thank you!

Secondly, we have instituted no visitor policies at all office and service sites until further notice.

Lastly, the most important good news is that there is a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, that will go into effect sometime toward the end of April that enhances our PTO and Short Term Disability benefits for qualified employees. This new law will provide paid sick and FMLA emergency leave to employees who miss work for certain coronavirus-related reasons until December 31, 2020.

Dependent upon guidance and interpretation from the Department of Labor, the following is a summary of the benefits we are glad to provide to those of you who may qualify for these benefits at the time the law is activated.

Paid Sick Leave

Under the bill, Pathfinder Services, being an employer with less than 500 employees, will provide up to 80 hours of paid-sick-leave benefits if an employee:

1. Has been ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19.

2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.

3. Has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.

4. Is caring for someone who is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to quarantine or self-isolate.

5. Needs to care for a son or daughter whose school or childcare service is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Paid sick leave will be paid at 100% the employee’s regular rate of pay for leave taken for reasons 1-3 above.

Employees taking leave for reasons 4-5 may be compensated at 67% their regular rate of pay.

Part-time employees are eligible to take the number of hours they would normally work during a two-week period.

Paid Family Leave:

· 12 weeks of job-protected leave when they can’t work—either onsite or remotely—because their minor son’s or daughter’s school or childcare service is closed due to a public health emergency. The FMLA defines “son or daughter” as a biological, adopted or foster child; a stepchild; a legal ward; or a child of a person taking the place of a parent.

· The first 10 days of leave can be unpaid unless an employee is qualified for the 80 hours of paid sick leave described earlier.

· For the other 10 weeks, eligible workers must receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay, which will be capped at $200 a day (and $10,000 total).

· For employees with variable hours each week, paid leave would be equal to the average number of hours worked per day over the previous six months.

We will also waive our current policy for a temporary period that states an employee is required to use PTO benefits down to 40 hours before utilizing their sick bank. Sick bank can be accessed when the employee has a situation that is caused by the virus.

Pathfinder Services is committed to keeping the well-being of the people we serve and employ at the forefront of our minds. We appreciate you and can’t thank you enough for continuing to step up during this difficult time.

Keeping the Coronavirus from Infecting Health-Care Workers

What Singapore’s and Hong Kong’s success is teaching us about the pandemic.

By Atul Gawande

March 21, 2020

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/keeping-the-coronavirus-from-infecting-health-care-workers

The success of Hong Kong and Singapore in stemming the spread of the coronavirus holds many lessons for how to contain it in the United States.

“The fact that these measures have succeeded in flattening the COVID-19 curve carries some hopeful implications. One is that this coronavirus, even though it appears to be more contagious than the flu, can still be managed by the standard public-health playbook: social distancing, basic hand hygiene and cleaning, targeted isolation and quarantine of the ill and those with high-risk exposure, a surge in health-care capacity (supplies, testing, personnel, wards), and coördinated, unified public communications with clear, transparent, up-to-date guidelines and data. Our government officials have been unforgivably slow to get these in place. We’ve been playing from behind. But we now seem to be moving in the right direction, and the experience in Asia suggests that extraordinary precautions don’t seem to be required to stop it. Those of us who must go out into the world and have contact with people don’t have to panic if we find out that someone with the coronavirus has been in the same room or stood closer than we wanted for a moment. Transmission seems to occur primarily through sustained exposure in the absence of basic protection or through the lack of hand hygiene after contact with secretions. Consider a couple of data points. Singapore so far appears not to have had a single recorded health-care-related transmission of the coronavirus, despite the hundreds of cases that its medical system has had to deal with. That includes one case reported this week of a critically ill pneumonia patient who exposed forty-one health-care workers in the course of four days before being diagnosed with COVID-19. These were high-risk exposures, including exposures during intubation and hands-on intensive care. Eighty-five per cent of the workers used only surgical masks. Yet, owing to proper hand hygiene, none became infected. Our early experiences in the U.S. have so far been similar.”

BYOD Update

The COVID-19 Pandemic has elevated the need to eliminate all barriers to employee communication and remote collaboration. This means access to internal email and news posts on the Intranet as well as participation in virtual meetings via Microsoft Teams must be readily available whenever needed. This situation does not minimize our responsibility to protect private information.

To accommodate this unusually dynamic situation, we have adjusted security settings to allow employees to use their mobile devices’ browser to access company applications and data at office.com, even if the device is not enrolled in the Intune. Use of these web applications is secure because you are working behind an encrypted gateway that requires you to log in at each use and the information is not actually stored on your device like it is when using an actual mobile app.

Be advised that these web apps in office.com will not perform as well as the installed mobile apps (Outlook online versus Outlook mobile for example). Office.com will also persistently suggest that you install the mobile applications, which is still not permitted without full enrollment into Intune. Therefore, device enrollment into Intune is still recommended for the best experience using company data on your device. We are pleased to offer this secure alternative for those who choose not to.

March 17, 2020

Any staff member with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 must follow a self-reporting protocol during the current organization restrictions.

We will not be taking temps or other vital signs on employees unless requested as a personal screening measure.

Self-reporting protocol will follow CDC symptom monitoring guidelines.

Please adhere to the following protocol:

GENERAL

  • If you have had contact within 14 days of a known or officially suspected COVID-19 case or travel to a CDC high-risk restricted COVID-19 area, NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR AND DO NOT REPORT TO WORK.

SHOWING SYMPTOMS

  • If you have a fever greater than 100.4, dry cough and/or shortness of breath; or if you have two or more of these symptoms that are NEW onset and not chronic issues like asthma, allergies, etc., NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR AND DO NOT REPORT TO WORK.
  • If you have a fever by itself that is less than 100.4, you are not required to implement work restrictions.
  • If you have a fever AND a new onset dry cough or new onset shortness of breath, you are restricted from working until approved for return by Pathfinder Services.
  • If you experience the onset of a fever and dry cough or shortness of breath while at work, remove yourself from the common area immediately, NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR, and arrange to go home and/or seek medical attention.

We will provide what we can in means of protection but cannot guarantee exposure and/or transmission will not occur.

March 17, 2020

Any staff member with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 must follow a self-reporting protocol during the current organization restrictions.

We will not be taking temps or other vital signs on employees unless requested as a personal screening measure.

Self-reporting protocol will follow CDC symptom monitoring guidelines.

Please adhere to the following protocol:

GENERAL

  • If you have had contact within 14 days of a known or officially suspected COVID-19 case or travel to a CDC high-risk restricted COVID-19 area, NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR AND DO NOT REPORT TO WORK.

SHOWING SYMPTOMS

  • If you have a fever greater than 100.4, dry cough and/or shortness of breath; or if you have two or more of these symptoms that are NEW onset and not chronic issues like asthma, allergies, etc., NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR AND DO NOT REPORT TO WORK.
  • If you have a fever by itself that is less than 100.4, you are not required to implement work restrictions.
  • If you have a fever AND a new onset dry cough or new onset shortness of breath, you are restricted from working until approved for return by Pathfinder Services.
  • If you experience the onset of a fever and dry cough or shortness of breath while at work, remove yourself from the common area immediately, NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR, and arrange to go home and/or seek medical attention.

We will provide what we can in means of protection but cannot guarantee exposure and/or transmission will not occur.

March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Update – Program Changes ​​​​​​​

“In the end, it will be impossible to know if we overreacted or did too much, but it will be quite apparent if we underreacted or did too little.”

Over the weekend, we received guidance from the State Board of Health and from the Bureau of Developmental Disability Services (BDDS) for those we serve in our CSS Division.

We are now taking the following actions to protect the folks we serve in our residential programs:

  • All Day Programs will be suspended beginning Wednesday, March 18th, and will be re-evaluated on March 27th to determine whether we can re-open.
  • There will be no visitors allowed in the residential homes, including families and guardians to be reevaluated on March 27, 2020.
  • Family members/guardians will be asked to volunteer taking their loved ones to stay with them until the virus has run its course.

We have also received guidance from the State of Indiana for Childcare Centers and we are following that guidance regarding the operation of Kids Kampus:

  • Kids Kampus will remain open.
  • The Kids Klinic will be closed temporarily.
  • Staff will be meeting families at the curb for drop-off and pickup of their children.