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Local Healthcare Systems on Brink – Situation Saturday

Local Healthcare Systems on Brink – Situation Saturday

Here’s the situation! Our region of the state is experiencing a drastic increase in COVID-19 infections. The increase in infections has heavily taxed our local healthcare systems.

We must take action. To mitigate the risk presented by high infection rates across the state, we are temporarily suspending ALL forms of off-site visits. From Monday, January 18 through Sunday, January 31, ONLY onsite visits will be scheduled.

We know this is difficult, but the safety of everyone who chooses Springbrook for supports and services is paramount. With clarity and courage, we are moving forward toward a better tomorrow.

COVID-19 Vaccine – Wellness Wednesday

COVID-19 Vaccine – Wellness Wednesday

This Wellness Wednesday, we wanted to share that New York State released further guidelines regarding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine. Please visit the below link to find out if you’re eligible, and if you are to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated. It is also a reliable source of news and information to educate yourself regarding New York State’s COVID-19 response. We will get well together.



Electronic Visit Verification is here!

EVV header - Electronic Visit Verification is here!

What You need to know

The New York State Department of Health is now requiring (since January 1) that OPWDD service providers (like Springbrook) implement Electronic Visit Verification [EVV].

What is EVV?

EVV is a system that may include multiple point-of-care verification technologies, such as telephonic, mobile, and web-based verification inputs. The system electronically verifies the occurrence of home-or community-based service visits, identifying the time that service provision begins and ends to ensure accurate claims disbursement and safeguarding that beneficiaries who are authorized to receive services get the expected care.

EVV is used to:

  • Verify visits on a real-time basis, including date, location, type of service, individual(s) providing and receiving services, and duration of service(s)
  • Validate hours of work for home health employees
  • Eliminate billing data entry mistakes
  • Reduce costs related to paper billing and payroll
  • Help combat fraud, waste, and abuse

EVV Implementation at Springbrook

  • EVV will begin in our current Mains’l software system
  • EVV will begin for HCBS in Precision Care and SDS in Mains’l
  • Please review EVV training materials in Mains’l under ‘Resources’

EVV and PCare Tip Sheets

EVV Q&A Webinar Session

On December 29, we hosted a live Q&A session to discuss EVV. The recorded session can be viewed below. 


Frequently Asked Questions

When will staff be required to start using EVV punching for clocking in and out?
Per New York State regulation, this is now in effect since January 1, 2021
What do you mean by FMS Website?

This is the Mains’l website (not the app) found at https://springbrook.mainsl.com

When should staff punch in and out using EVV?

Staff should clock in at the start of their shift (upon arrival at the same location as the individual) and clock out at the end of their shift.

When should staff enter their timesheet notes, mileage, and staff activity fees?

As of today, 1/5/2021 the ability to enter documentation within the EVV app is not available, but it will become available in the near future. Staff can enter this documentation from the standard FMS website.

Will the GPS track staff throughout their shift?

The GPS signal is only to capture the location at the beginning and end of each shift per EVV regulations. GPS is not captured during the duration of the worked shift.

Will Springbrook be paying for the data usage of staff using EVV?

Springbrook will not be paying for data or internet for SDS staff. If staff do not have a data plan on their phone, they can connect to WiFi at their location, or use a device provided by their managing employer to punch in and out. There is also a telephony option which can be used on the rare occasion there is no internet service or devices available at all. That option should be discussed with the SDS Coordinator.

How will staff enter PTO?

PTO and sick time will still be entered as it was previously in the FMS website.

Is this change only for Self-Direction? Is this only a change at Springbrook?

This is a statewide change for all agencies. EVV is required for SDS as well as traditional HCBS Community Habilitation timesheets.

Does this apply to telehealth visits?

At this time this does not apply to telehealth. Telehealth timesheets will still be entered in on the FMS website. If this changes, Springbrook will alert users.

What should staff do if they work back-to-back shifts? For example, Respite from 12:00 - 2:00 and Com Hab from 2:00 - 4:00?

Staff should punch out at the end of shift one (2:00 here) and punch back in with a different service code (CH in this example) immediately afterward.

My staff cannot login to EVV as their password is not working. What should they do?

Staff should email sdssupport@springbrookny.org for a password reset. If they are still having issues they should contact the SDS Coordinator for that individual.

What is the Company Code?

Please use company code: SPR


For more information on Electronic Visit Verification, please visit the NYS DOH website. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Self-Directed Services office at selfdirection@springbrookny.org.

Classroom Christmas Cookies – Take A Look Tuesday

On this Take a Look Tuesday, we wanted to share a bit more holiday happiness! Just before the holiday break, students from Athena Frost’s classroom set to work and decorated the Christmas cookies from their Freestyle Confections decorating kits. Each Springbrook campus home and classroom received one of these kits and had lots of fun decorating their cookies. Thank you to everyone who supports us, and a special thanks to our sponsors, NBT Bank and Chianis & Anderson Architects for helping us create a joyful holiday season!

Employee Christmas Raffle Winners

The Employee Christmas Raffle winners have been announced! Thank you to everyone who joined us live as the prize winners were drawn. Below is the list of winners. CEO Patricia Kennedy also gave an exciting announcement during the live stream, sharing that Springbrook employees will receive a Christmas Thank You check. All actively working* Springbrook employees can expect a deposit on Christmas Eve (Thursday, Dec 24). Full-time employees will receive a $500 deposit and part-time employees will get a $250 deposit. If you have any questions, please contact the Payroll Office.


Let Us Do the Shopping – Taylor DeCook
Diamonds are a Girl’s (or Boy’s) Best Friend – Brad Seeley
New Year, New You – Alyssa Hall
Let’s Get Renovating – Melinda Boyle
Taste of Oneonta – Katie Hollenbeck
Taste of Cooperstown – Michael Collins
Conscientious Consignment – Jessica Knowles
Summer Staycation – Frederick McGee
Winter Staycation – Bob Marino
Pedal to the Metal – Teri Wells
If you are one of the winners listed above, please email Human Resources to collect your prize.

*Exclusion list: SDS Workers, Springbrook Officers, Staff scheduled to start in January, Staff listed as “active” who are not working (Ex: Seasonal, Active with no hours for the last few months), Workers Comp, FMLA, PFL, STD, Interns, and part-time workers working less than 18 hours a week. If you have any further questions regarding eligibility, please contact the Payroll Office.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

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The Covid-19 Vaccine

The vaccine distribution plan created by Governor Cuomo’s office has delegated that people with developmental disabilities living in congregate settings and the staff who care for them are included in phase 1a, and will be among the first to receive access to the Covid-19 vaccine. At Springbrook, we strive to give you the most trusted and up-to-date information about the Covid-19 pandemic and this newly developed vaccine.

People get vaccinated so it is easier to fight diseases like Covid-19. Vaccines are just one of the ways to help stop (or slow) the spread of disease. The information on this page is intended to help you make informed decisions about whether or not you choose to be vaccinated. As always, please discuss the vaccine with your healthcare provider before making any decision about your health.

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COVID-19 Screening & Consent Form

Families are required to complete a consent form in order for their loved ones to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Please reference the list below for your residence contact. 

Consent Form Contact List

Hayes, Oxford, Nichols, South Broad Street: Ketharine Safavizadeh

Glensbridge, Grandview, Morris, Sherburne, West Oneonta: Heather Anderson

Cook Street, Pierstown, Stone Quarry: Heather Schneider

Kelly Corners, Milford, Pines, Swart Hollow: Molly Steenland

Ford Ave, Oak & Elm, Otego, Walnut: Amanda Steinert

Hilltop, Highland: Bobbie Martindale

Snell, Sunshine, Susquehanna, Taylor: Kim MacPherson

LeChase, Scriven, Wright: Isabelle Brundege-Wood


Covid and People with I/DD

A recent review of private health insurance claims data for 467,773 people diagnosed with the coronavirus in the U.S. between April and August found that individuals with developmental disorders were three times more likely to die compared to others. That’s the highest risk of any of the 15 conditions that the study looked at, which included heart failure, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, and various types of cancer. Meanwhile, a separate category for people with intellectual disabilities and related conditions like Down syndrome showed a risk of death 2.75 times higher and was third on the list of conditions. That was followed by spina bifida and other nervous system anomalies. You can read more about this report here. 

We also encourage you to read this important letter from the OPWDD Commissioner. 

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Vaccine Webinar

On December 22, Springbrook held an informative webinar to discuss the COVID-19 vaccines that have received emergency use authorization. CEO Patricia Kennedy, COO Seth Haight, and CCO Katherine Ramiza hosted the webinar and answered questions for viewers. If you were unable to attend the webinar, we encourage you to watch it here.

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Latest Information

The Pfizer BioNTech (pronounced Bee-On-Tech) vaccine has received emergency use authorization by the FDA as of 12/11/2020.

The Moderna (pronounced Mo-der-Na) vaccine has received emergency use authorization by the FDA as of 12/18/2020. Please take a look at this supplied Vaccine Recipient Fact Sheet we received directly from Moderna. 

Both vaccines are mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines meaning they do not inject the patient with a live or dead strain of the virus.

    • mRNA vaccines teach your body to create virus proteins. The immune system develops antibodies against these proteins to help you fight the virus that causes COVID in the case that you are exposed (immune response).

Both vaccines are completed with two doses given 3-4 weeks apart depending on which vaccine you get.


No studies with the vaccine have been completed in children under 12 and limited information is available on pregnant women.

The vaccine IS being recommended for people who have already had COVID.

Patients who choose to get the vaccine will still be required to wear a mask and social distance.

The vaccine will be available at NO COST to all New Yorkers.

First priority in NY to get the vaccine are:

    1. High-Risk Hospital Workers (ER, ICU & Pulmonary Dept. Staff)
    2. Nursing Home Residents & Staff
    3. All Long-Term and Congregate Care Residents & Staff (Including OPWDD)
    4. EMS workers
    5. Other healthcare workers
    6. Coroners & medical examiners

NY has launched a website about the vaccine which will host the most up to date vaccine information: https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/

COVID divider - COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Additional Videos

Below is an informational overview from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) regarding the vaccine and why it is important in helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Bassett Healthcare Network sponsored a public town hall on December 17, 2020 to help our local communities better understand the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Our team answered some frequently asked questions about these vaccines, including their safety and effectiveness, as well as addressed some common myths and concerns about the vaccines. If you missed this webinar, please watch this recording.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get Covid-19 from the vaccine?

You cannot get Covid-19 from the vaccine. None of the leading vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen) contain the actual SARS-CoV-2 virus. The vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA), the genetic material that our cells read to make proteins. Once the proteins, which don’t cause disease, are produced, the body launches an immune response against the virus, enabling the person to develop immunity.

This recent article in the New York Times gives a great overview of how mRNA vaccines work.

Can I choose which vaccine I get?

This depends on a number of factors, including the supply in your area at the time you’re vaccinated and whether certain vaccines are found to be more effective in certain populations, such as older adults.

Is there a risk that supply will run out before I get my second dose?

If you are in the first group of people vaccinated, your booster shot will be set aside for you and won’t be given to someone else. Later, when supplies are more plentiful, reserves probably won’t be necessary. Gen. Gustave F. Perna, the chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed (the federal effort to speed a vaccine to market) has said that after the first doses are given, the doses earmarked for the second shot will be set aside to be given three weeks later. An additional 500,000 backup doses will also be held in reserve, in case they are unexpectedly needed.

How long will it take to work?

You won’t get the full protection from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine until about a week after the second dose, based on clinical trial data. The researchers found that the vaccine’s protection started to emerge about ten days after the first dose, but it only reached 52 percent efficacy, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. A week after the second dose, the efficacy rose to 95 percent.

What should I mention to my provider before I receive any shots?

It is recommended that you inform your vaccination provider about all medical conditions, including if you:

  • Have any allergies
  • Have a fever
  • Have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood-thinner
  • Are immunocompromised or are taking a medicine that affects your immune system
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have received another Covid-19 vaccine
I had Covid-19 already. Should I still get vaccinated?

It’s safe, and probably even beneficial, for anyone who has had COVID-19 to get the vaccine at some point, experts said. Although people who have contracted the virus do have immunity, it is too soon to know how long it lasts. So for now, it makes sense for them to get the shot. The question is when. Some members of the CDC advisory committee have suggested people who have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days should be toward the back of the line.

If I have allergies, should I be concerned?

People with severe allergies who have experienced anaphylaxis in the past should talk to their doctors about how to safely get the vaccine and what precautions to take. The FDA. Has said it would require Pfizer to increase its monitoring for anaphylaxis and submit data on it once the vaccine comes into use. Fewer than one in a million recipients of other vaccines a year in the U.S. have an anaphylactic reaction, said Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Among those who participated in the Pfizer trials, a very small number of people had allergic reactions. A document published by the FDA said that 0.63 percent of participants who received the vaccine reported potential allergic reactions, compared to 0.51 percent of people who received a placebo. In Pfizer’s late-stage clinical trial, one of the 18,801 participants who received the vaccine had an anaphylactic reaction, according to safety data published by the FDA on December 10, 2020. None in the placebo group did.

Additional Sources:

New York Times – Here’s What People With Allergies Should Know About Covid Vaccines

How do I report a problem or bad reaction to getting vaccinated?

The CDC and FDA encourage the public to report possible side effects (called adverse events) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This national system collects these data to look for adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns of occurrence. Healthcare providers will be required to report certain adverse events following vaccination to VAERS. Healthcare providers also have to adhere to any revised safety reporting requirements according to FDA’s conditions of authorized use throughout the duration of any Emergency Use Authorization; these requirements would be posted on FDA’s website.

The CDC is also implementing a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you should also receive a v-safe information sheet telling you how to enroll in v-safe. If you enroll, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar – Situation Saturday

COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar – Situation Saturday

The COVID-19 vaccine has been highly anticipated and is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. We would like to invite you to our COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar, during which we will overview the most up to date information available, touch on vaccine consent, and review Springbrook’s next steps in vaccinations. The health and safety of all the people who receive Springbrook supports and services, and our employees, has been the primary focus throughout this pandemic. We are hopeful that this vaccine will bring us one step closer to a pre-COVID-19 way of life.

We are excited to share that people with developmental disabilities 16 years of age and older who currently live in congregant living and the Direct Support Professionals who support them, have been deemed as 1a in the phased allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine – these people will be prioritized in the first wave of vaccinations.

To register for the webinar on December 22 at 4:30 pm, please click here.

2020 Gingerbread House Contest

2020 Gingerbread House Contest

As part of our Winter Activities this year, we invite you to vote for your favorite gingerbread house in our contest!

View the slideshow of entries and then complete the form below to submit your vote. The winner will be announced during the live Christmas Raffle on December 23.

Please, only one vote per person. Thank you!

The Contestants

The voting period for the gingerbread house contest has closed, and the winners will be announced Wednesday, December 23. Thank you to everyone who voted! 

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