Since early March, keeping our clients safe during the COVID pandemic has been our highest priority. The pandemic has been very stressful for everyone, but especially our direct support teams working in the homes. Many are worried about contracting the virus and carrying it home to their loved ones.
For the most part, our clients have sheltered in place since March 13th and have not visited in person with their family members since March 24th. We have only recently begun allowing outdoor visits and just recently announced that clients will be able to return to family visits and a few activities outside the home.
While we understand that many community activities including day programs, sheltered workshops and therapeutic recreation have re-opened, Emmaus clients will not be returning to these activities until further notice.
Thank you for your partnership as we navigate these difficult times.
If you have further questions, please feel free to reach out:
Thank You to Our Donors
Through our thoughtful donors, we have been able to maintain a high quality of service for the people we support. Thank you to the following for your generous donations! You are helping Emmaus provide necessities and personal protective equipment.
Your Sew & Sew Mask Makers
Kim & Rich Mattox
Stitches for Life
Christi and Cassie Tennyson
Stitches for Life
Waterloo Quilters Guild
Washington Overseas Mission
Ganesh, Helping Hands Volunteers
Nancy, Calvary Chapel Winfield
Suzanne Tushar, Son Dance Embroidery
St. John United Church of Christ in St. Charles (Rev. Rocky & Rev. Lisa Martin)
Pastor Erik & Christy, Element Church
Mary Jo Ruff
Bill Elder, Allegra Marketing
Jennifer Abernathy, Abernathy Construction
Rev. Carole Barner and Grace UCC
Linda and Roy Mueller
Shalene Curtis Blackwood
Marjie, Busy Hands 4 All & Days for Girls – O’Fallon, MO
Calvary United Church in St. Louis
Bob & Shelia Schuette
Sharon Watts & Trina Mandhardt
Rev. Jeff, Samuel UCC
Cherie Stolze & friends
Rev. Becky Turner and Christ UCC
Rev. Sarah McCann, Hope United Church of Christ
Dennis & Tonya Courtois
Pastor Joe Rowley, Emanuel UCC
Pastor Karen Eck, Frieden’s Peace UCC – New Melle
Cherie Stolze & Friends
Rev. Becky Turner, Christ UCC
St. John UCC
SEMO Termite & Pest Control
Mel and Stacy Kohr
Bob & Donna Chism
Jason & Ashley Panhorst
Craig Johnson in memory of John A. Agnello
Lorin Cope, St. Paul UCC – St. Louis
Janice Sullivan in honor of Joyce Hanneken
Jason Unwin, TJ Weis Contracting
Mr. & Mrs. Delbert Grover
St. Jordan’s UCC
Emmett & Darlene Becker
Charles & Ann Dittmer
Cindy Birkner, Missouri MidSouth Conference
Sharon Hyatt, Stiches for Life
Erika Rodriguez & Family
Jim Elder, Allegra Marketing
Rev. Dianna Niemann-Harris
Gina Tackett & Family
Janet Saxton, In Stitches
Gary and Denise Maggart
Tieks by GAVRIELI
Dave Baker, Warrenton Oil
Our GiveSTLDay & #FillTheVan Donors
We did it!! The Emmaus van is FULL, with 2,200 critical household goods and PPE dropped off during GiveSTLDay. On top of that, our incredible donors gave $9,716. We are BLOWN AWAY by our amazing community! We had faith that you could #FillTheVan on #GiveSTLDay and we are excited to celebrate this victory along the path forward. Here is a special recognition of every that helped.
St. John UCC Chesterfield
100.7 the Viper
Linda & Roy Mueller
Lev & Linda Reynolds
Eric, Harness & Cable Direct
No Problem Heating and Cooling
Randy & Lisa Key
Debye (Deborah) McCoy
Rev. Lev & Linda Reynolds
Jason & Ashley Panhorst
Jason & Ashley Panhorst
Trudi & David Rychwalski
Jason & Katie Hughes
View the Recent Letter to Our Family Members
None of these orders prevent an Emmaus employee from reporting to work. They will limit the movement of our clients and also your actions outside of work. We see these as great steps that will make our community safer and allow all of to continue to provide services to our clients by limiting all unnecessary interactions.
The below is being updated on a daily basis based on changing and new information.
Bell Choir, Bible Study and Worship Services are canceled until further notice.
EmmausLink activities are canceled until further notice. We hope to have an update soon about upcoming sessions.
We plan to begin allowing visits on June 15th, with necessary safety precautions outlined in a recent family letter.
Work & Day Programs
Effective immediately, clients will not attend sheltered workshops or day programs until further notice.
- We plan to begin allowing visits on June 15th, provided the number of new cases in our service area continues to decline. Family members should anticipate that these visits will be held outdoors and require personal protective equipment, such as masks, to be worn by both clients (if they are able) and family members. Much like we have with our team members, we strongly encourage you to limit your own travel and the number of people you encounter on a regular basis. Also, please take necessary safety precautions when you are in the community.
- We encourage you to continue to find creative ways to connect with your loved one. I’ve provided a few examples of how you can do this safely. Please be sure to contact the home staff prior to any visit.
- Consider a driveway visit. While remaining in your car, visit with your family member from a safe distance.
- Make plans to chat with your loved one through a window.
- In some cases, the home staff could arrange to drive your family member to your home for a visit while remaining in the car or van.
- Use the technology we have provided in the homes. This includes iPads and iPhones which you can use to Facetime.
- The Emmaus COVID-19 response team is beginning to outline our phased approach to releasing these restrictions.
- Based on the feedback we received from surveying our team members, the response team decided to remain status quo with most staff continuing to work from home through August 1. We will revisit this decision in late July. The offices will also remain closed to the public during this time as well.
- We have made the difficult decision to continue to restrict visitors until June 15th. This decision was based upon the following factors:
• We have consulted with DMH and other community providers who are also limiting visitors in their homes at this time.
• We have surveyed our staff that work in the home. More than 300 team members responded to the survey and the overwhelming feedback was that we should restrict visitors.
• While we continue to be diligent, we have had clients and team members tested for COVID-19 recently. Fortunately, to date, we have no new cases.
We understand that while this decision may be frustrating, it was made with an abundance of caution to protect the lives of our clients and staff. Recently we were notified that another service provider had clients test positive, which served as a reminder that we are not out of the woods yet.
Health & Safety
- High touch areas are being disinfected a minimum of twice each day.
- Please continue to take daily temps for both clients and staff. Staff temperatures should be taken at the beginning of each shift. Client temperatures should be taken once each day and recorded in in Therap vitals.
- Client temperatures over 100.4 should be reported to the supervisor immediately.
- We cannot stress enough the importance of handwashing. Washing your hands is the first step in preventing the spread of coronavirus. The homes have been provided with antibacterial soap, please contact your CSM if you need additional soap.
- The continued safety and health of our clients and team members remains our priority. Please continue to wash your hands. Handwashing remains the No. 1 tip for preventing the spread of Coronavirus. However, it must be done properly and with soap and water. When soap and water are not available, the next best option is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Please continue to wipe down high touch areas in the home. These areas include doorknobs, sink handles, keyboards, etc. Spray a paper towel with the sanitizer provided in your kit (pink). This sanitizer is safe to use in the kitchen and can be used as well as a general household cleaner. The disinfectant wipes should be used for areas where the spray may not be available. They are on short supply and we are still having difficulty finding them.
- Hand sanitizer does not take the place of washing your hands with soap and water. The purpose of hand sanitizer is to provide a temporary barrier UNTIL you can wash your hands. Consider using hand sanitizer in cases where you can’t immediately access soap and water, such as after pumping gas or using an ATM.
- Consider things that are being brought into the home, including groceries, supplies and mail. These things have all been handled by many in the supply chain. You may wipe down items or spray with Lysol in the garage prior to bringing them in the home.
StationMD is a new medical service we are implementing that offers immediate virtual access to emergency physicians, specifically trained in the care of people with developmental disabilities. This service is available 24-hours a day to act as a resource for all staff, including nurses, to call if they have a concern about a client. The program is an addition to any current medical care offered by each client’s primary care physician.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this service will allow us to:
- Access to medical professionals for any urgent medical need for a client;
- Reduce or eliminate exposure of COVID-19 positive clients at a clinic or hospital setting;
- Provide effective follow-up and monitoring of medical needs.
- Allow virtual access for multiple parties, including families and guardians to be on the virtual visit.
Additional benefits include:
- Physicians who have experience specifically with persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
- Access to our Therap system for updating patient information
- 24/7 Access
- Contact with Emergency room to prepare for arrival, if more intense treatment is necessary
We are obtaining family/guardian consent and scheduling Medical Coordinators for training. Your CS Directors will share more information for your individual clients. StationMD is already available and may be a consideration as determined by team management to ensure the health and safety of our clients.
- Please save empty sanitizer and disinfectant bottles to be re-filled. We will pick them up when the home kits are delivered.
- Emmaus will continue delivering additional disinfecting supplies to the homes.
- We continue to source critical supplies for our homes. Communicate with your CSM regarding any needs your home has. Community members have been gracious in donating essential supplies and will still be able to drop off these supplies during normal business hours.
- Grocery shopping – please continue to shop for groceries online. Many grocery stores and retailers like Walmart and Aldi offer online ordering and curbside pick-up or delivery. You can find more information at aldi.com or www.walmart.com.
- If you are interested in using Instacart, please contact your CSM.
- The paired partners remain available for curbside pickup and items that are in short supply where stores are limiting quantities, such as milk, bread and eggs.
- Emmaus has delivered beef & pork products to the homes.
To ensure the continued safety of our clients and our staff, we are making schedule changes to minimize the number of people working in the home. We believe it is in the best interest of our clients to have fewer people in the home. Fewer people in the home reduces opportunities for exposure. Here are actions we are taking:
Working at Emmaus
- Transfer requests are temporarily on hold; you will no longer see job postings on the internal Emmaus Careers Site.
- Subscriptions in OnShift are being updated. You will only be subscribed to the team you are currently rostered to.
- We are working to update schedules: Effective April 13, if you were scheduled for a shift outside your rostered team, you will be removed from that schedule.
- The Client Services Leadership team is looking at each individual home to assess the staffing needs and any assistance we would need from other teams.
- Once identified, the CSM leadership team will communicate these openings.
- Initial communication will be with staff who are trained on the clients in those specific homes.
As a reminder, all employees must be both fever-free and symptom-free from any type of illness for 72 hours prior to returning to work. If you are uncertain as to whether you should come to work because of symptoms, call your manager before going into the home.
- Before beginning your shift, Paycom will prompt you to complete a health assessment. Please take your temperature upon clocking in, you will need it to complete the survey. This survey needs to be completed daily by team members. In an abundance of caution, we are sending the survey daily to all employees, and are working on a process to deliver it to employees critical to client services.
Many of our team members continue to ask about temporary pay increases or ‘hero pay’ related to COVID-19. Since the first outbreak of COVID-19 in March, we have provided hero pay to team members who worked in a home with a positive client diagnosis. We chose this approach because Missouri was offering these same incentives in their own facilities and believed that we would receive additional funding for the same types of expenses. However, I was recently notified that community providers including Emmaus will not receive any additional funding for the critical services we have provided during this time.
While we firmly believe that every member of our client services team deserves additional compensation, beginning June 1st we are no longer able to provide hero pay because we simply don’t have the money to continue this practice. Please know that this decision does not diminish the exceptional work that you are providing to our clients.
The COVID-19 crisis at Emmaus has resulted in extraordinary additional expenses including staff costs for overtime and hero pay, the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE), and supplies for the homes such as sanitizer, gloves, disinfectant spray, face masks and more. We have funded more than $500,000 in unbudgeted expenses due to COVID-19. None of which will not be reimbursed.
As a reminder, nearly all of Emmaus’ services are funded by Medicaid. The state must first distribute its funding for Medicaid, then Missouri can receive matching funds from the federal government. Because Missouri is seeing an extreme decline in tax revenue, the state may be forced to decrease its funding of disability services. Therefore, we are at risk of receiving a cut in this funding as early as July 2020. Even during normal times, it can be frustrating to continue our work without enough funding. Now, the absence of additional resources during this crisis feels even more profound.
We continue to advocate for financial relief so that we might be able to compensate our direct support team during this crisis. Please know that we recognize how crucial your work is to protect the health and safety of our clients always, but especially during the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 crisis response team continues to discuss ways that, if provided additional funding, we can recognize and reward our direct support team members.
As we mentioned in a previous communication, we need your support to tell Congress about our need for additional resources to fight COVID-19. Together, we can share the story of your extraordinary work and why services for our clients deserve much-needed additional government funding. You can find the tool to send your advocacy message here.
We have all heard the many news reports of the devastating impacts of this disease on the nursing home industry. Your diligent efforts over the last 2 ½ months have significantly minimized the impact of this disease on both our clients and your fellow team members. We are forever grateful.
We have received some questions about the use of PPE (personal protection equipment), which includes gloves and masks, in the homes. In accordance with CDC guidance, we are continuing to secure PPE in the event that we need to care for a client with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19.
- All homes should have a supply of gloves for staff use. We have been assured by our supplier that we will continue to receive our normal supply but that we are unable to order additional gloves. Please do not use gloves at a faster pace than normal. If you need gloves, please contact your CSM.
- Please remember that the use of gloves does not replace handwashing.
- Influenza and other respiratory infections including COVID-19 have similar if not identical signs and symptoms. Team members who feel sick or who develop a cough and/or shortness of breath should take their temperature twice each day and track their temperature. A team member who has a fever at or above 100.4 should not report to work.
Supervisors will be required to notify HR of all reports of illness
- HR will record the number of illnesses and report this information daily to Client Services and the Executive Team.
- Good hygiene remains a priority. It is critical that employees and clients continue to be rigorous in washing their hands. Beginning March 16, all employees will be required to complete an online hand hygiene and basic universal precautions training.
As an Emmaus employee, you have access to the Optum Emotional Support line and our Employee Assistance Programs. All employees are eligible for these services and encouraged to use them regularly. We have provided the information below for your convenience.
Mental and Emotional Support Programs
- Optum Emotional Support Line
- Available for all employees 866-342-6892
- Assisting with family matters, anxiety, stress, financial and legal matters
- ComPsych employee assistance program
- com, Company ID: GEN311
- Confidential support, information and resources
Telemedicine Options (for those enrolled in our health benefits)
Employees who are enrolled in our health benefits are eligible for virtual visits through CARE ATC and UHC. We have provided the information below for your convenience.
- CareATC Virtual Visits
- Must call to schedule an appointment – 800-993-8244
- Will help you determine next steps if you are sick (normal charges apply)
- UHC Virtual Visits
- UHC App or MyUHC.com – $40-$50 charge
As a reminder, employee IDs identify you as an essential employee during the shelter in place orders.
- Permanent employee badges should be delivered to homes by Friday. Be sure to carry your badge when travelling to and from work.
All non-essential business travel by employees of Emmaus has been suspended until further notice.
Employees who choose to travel recreationally are required to report their trip to Human Resources with the following stipulations:
- All travel to level 3 warning areas, including overseas travel, will result in an unpaid 14-day quarantine and a release from a medical practitioner prior to returning to work. If available, the employee can use PTO.
- Any travel to other areas, the employee must complete a form that documents the trip AND be symptom-free before returning to work.
- Emmaus reserves the right to ask any employee to self-quarantine and/or provide a medical release prior to returning to work after traveling.
- We are extending the deadline for obtaining a Class E license. This extension will continue until further notice.
- For now, we are lifting the restriction that you must have a Class E to drive a client, until further notice.
- New employees will continue to receive van training as part of the 45 day checklist in the home.
Events & Volunteers
- The Topgolf fundraising event originally scheduled for March 19, has been postponed until further notice.
- All planned volunteers and volunteer activities are cancelled until further notice.
- Pastor Cindy and Pastor Andrea have pre-recorded worship services that are available on the Emmaus Connection & YouTube
Additional information and resources about COVID-19
Plain Language on COVID-19
Essential Employee Letter
Letter to Our Families
Stimulus Package Q&A
Helpful Resources for Team Members
Center of Disease Control
St. Charles County Civic Alerts
Healthcare Workers Emergency Daycare
NADSP Toolkit for DSPs
Thank You to Our Direct Support Professionals
I have been saving my PTO. Am I able to use it now to take off several weeks during the COVID crisis?
As you know Emmaus is considered a critical employer during this time of crisis. Both Missouri and Illinois have declared States of Emergency and most of their citizens are currently under executive orders to shelter in place. For this reason, we need you now more than ever. Allowing extended periods of PTO at this time would put an undue burden our co-workers who are already working extraordinary hours. We need all hands- on deck and will not approve any extended periods of PTO during this crisis. We will evaluate our plan on a frequent and ongoing basis and will lift this restriction as soon as it is possible.
Can I use PTO if I test positive for a viral illness, like Flu A, B or COVID 19?
You may use PTO if you test positive for a viral illness. You may also choose not to use PTO. The choice is yours. We recognize that employees who test positive for COVID 19 may have additional rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the FML Expansion Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We will adhere to all applicable statutes regarding time off and paid time off as it relates to a positive COVID 19 diagnosis.
Can I use PTO if I am sick, but have not tested positive for a viral illness?
We want employees who are sick to stay home. Particularly those who have a fever of 100.4 or greater. As a reminder, all employees are required to take their temperature upon arriving at work. Employees who are sent home because of a temperature of 100.4 or greater may use available PTO. Employees who stay home because of illness may use available PTO.
What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?
The FFCRA provides additional benefits for certain public and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Emmaus has more than 500 employees, making us exempt from these provisions. (Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division)