The Executive has been very supportive of the inclusion of the mental health workforce and the entire human service workforce as part of the essential state workforce. This is reflected in the updated testing guidance listed below from the Department of Health
We just did an interview with Spectrum News today highlighting the great work of the Governor in talking about our everyday heroes in this pandemic like police, firefighters, hospital workers and others. We also want to recognize that, as my colleague Bill Gettman says, there are also the essential workers ‘who are under the radar’ like staff of congregate care settings in mental health, mobile crisis team members, social workers, mental health counselors, staff in domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, day care workers and others.
We are pleased to see that they are being recognized and will be part of the federal advocacy for ‘Hazard Pay’ as well as being eligible for child care support and eligibility for testing as reflected in the document below.
DATE: April 26, 2020
TO: Health Care Providers, Health Care Facilities, and Local Health Departments
FROM: New York State Department of Health
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) continues to monitor the situation and work to expand COVID-19 diagnostic and serologic testing for New Yorkers.
Appropriate and efficient standards for testing are an essential component of a multi-layered strategy to prevent sustained spread of COVID-19 in New York State and to ensure resources are being efficiently and equitably distributed. New York State continues to increase testing capacity for COVID-19 on a daily basis. However, until such time as we are at full capacity, this guidance is necessary to ensure that New York State prioritizes resources to meet the most urgent public health need.
Diagnostic and/or serologic testing for COVID-19 shall be authorized by a health care provider when:
Based on individual clinical factors, health care providers should use clinical judgement to determine the appropriate COVID-19 test(s) (i.e. diagnostic or serologic) that should be obtained.
On April 17, 2020, Executive Order 202.19 was issued requiring the establishment of a single, statewide coordinated testing prioritization process that shall require all laboratories in the state, both public and private, that conduct COVID-19 diagnostic testing, to complete such COVID-19 diagnostic testing only in accordance with such process.
To support the statewide coordinated testing prioritization, health care providers should take the following prioritization into consideration when ordering a COVID-19 test:
Diagnostic Testing Access:
Individuals who fit these prioritization categories and do not currently have access to testing can call the New York State COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or visit the NYSDOH website https://covid19screening.health.ny.gov/ to be screened for eligibility, and if eligible, have an appointment set up at one of the State’s Testing Sites.
Any release of information must adhere strictly to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and any other applicable federal and state laws governing personal health information. Providers who have questions can contact the NYSDOH Bureau of Communicable Disease Control at 518-473-4439 during business hours or 1-866-881-2809 during evenings, weekends, and holidays.