On April 29, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the launch of a new $24 million initiative. This initiative provides additional resources for direct support professionals working with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The initiative comes as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a public health crisis that has already inspired a number of changes within the state’s health and human services industry.
Keep reading to learn more about Governor Murphy’s new law, “Murphy’s Law”, as well as the other changes that have been made to support people with disabilities.
Protecting Individuals With Disabilities During COVID-19: What New Jersey Has Done So Far
Even before the pandemic and federally-funded initiative, New Jersey’s Department of Human Services took several steps to help and better protect its residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These steps include measures to promote social distancing, enhance continuity of care, and ease financial burdens on individuals, their loved ones, and their care providers. Examples include:
- Temporary closure of Department-funded adult day programs
- Financial support to day programs and group home providers, as well as rule modifications to streamline the hiring process of additional staff members
- Visitor policy restrictions to group homes
- Delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) to private homes attended by aides, group homes, and supervised apartments
- Additional guidance on hygiene, cleaning, and disinfecting for group home providers
Murphy’s Law: 3 Things to Know About The Additional Support Initiative
As an essential worker caring for some of the community’s most vulnerable members, direct support professionals have a critical role in helping slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety and well-being of the individuals in their care.
Here are three things to know about Governor Murphy’s new initiative to protect and support a community of people at higher risk of contracting this deadly disease: people with disabilities and their caretakers.
1. Benefits go to Direct Support Professionals Working With New Jersey’s Human Services
The initiative specifically applies to direct support professionals providing care in group homes and supervised apartments as part of New Jersey’s Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities.
The division currently serves about 8,000 adult individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who need assistance in maintaining their daily needs and fulfilling their personal goals.
2. Direct Support Professionals Can Expect a Temporary Wage Increase
Since May 1, direct support professionals are being paid an additional $3 per hour. The wage increase is slated to last for three months.
3. Adults with Disabilities Can Have a Designated Support Person Present if Hospitalized
Hospitals and healthcare clinics have implemented a no visitor policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is intended to reduce the chances of coronavirus exposure and transmission. However, individuals with disabilities rely on the assistance of trusted family members, personal care assistants, and other service providers to help advocate for themselves and ensure their needs are met. Allowing them access to the support they need is paramount to protecting their dignity and well-being.
For this reason, Governor Murphy’s new initiative allows a designated support person to accompany an individual with a disability during hospitalization. Designated support persons will be screened by hospital staff and must not be clear of showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
Enhancing Provider Support Through Innovative Technology Solutions
At Direct Care Innovations, we applaud efforts to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities—as well as the hardworking professionals working with them. We also know that as life goes on in a global pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have streamlined software services that ensure operational integrity during such stressful times.
To learn more about our intuitive business management platform features, including payroll, billing, electronic visit verifications for remote providers, at more, contact us today by calling (480) 295-3307 or request a sales demo.