Matt Harrington

Difficult decisions in a difficult time – an update from Matt Harrington

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

LOGAN Friends & Family,

I write today to make two difficult announcements. It has been my hope that making these announcements would not have been necessary. However, developments in the past days and hours – including executive orders from Governors Holcomb and Whitmer –  necessitate my communication of these deeply disappointing decisions.

First, we have decided to suspend all programs beginning tomorrow March 25, 2020 to April 13, 2020 except the following:

  • Residential Services including Group Living, Supported Living and Family Supports
  • Community Employment
  • Pre-Employment Transition Services
  • First Steps (Telehealth only)
  • ABA, Speech, and Occupational Therapies (Telehealth only), as approved by individuals’ health insurance plans
  • Protective Services
  • Packaging & Distribution for select LOGAN Industries customers listed by the Department of Homeland Security as manufacturing essential products

These programs listed above will remain in operation during this time period. All other programs are being suspended.  LOGAN Center, LOGAN Industries, Hannah & Friends, The Sonya Ansari Center for Autism, and the Autism Learning Centers in Granger and Southwest Michigan will be closed to the public and only staff essential to ongoing program operations will be allowed in the buildings. While buildings are closed, we will continue our preventative measures of deep cleaning including the use of a commercial sanitizing machine.

Second, staff not essential to the ongoing operations of our other programs still servicing clients will experience a temporary layoff anticipated to last until April 13, 2020.  Staff impacted by the temporary layoff have been communicated options including reassignment to ongoing program operations; flexibility to use Paid Time Off; eligibility for unemployment benefits; and continued insurance and benefits with LOGAN paying both the employees’ portion and LOGAN’s portion of the costs. They remain LOGAN employees during this time period. At the end of the layoff period, all staff will be welcomed back to their current positions.

Some of you may be wondering why we waited until today to make these decisions.  Others may wish that we continue providing services in all programs.  I understand both of these points of view.  Over the last few weeks, we have strived to make data-informed and expert-guided decisions consistent with LOGAN’s mission.  Based upon all of the information available to us as we continue to learn about the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve determined now is the prudent time to make these decisions.

These difficult decisions are deeply rooted in our desire to keep clients and staff of LOGAN safe and do our part to reverse the current trajectory of COVID-19 in our communities. Please know that I am thinking of you, our clients, our staff and their families and all who are being impacted by this pandemic.  We will persevere and look forward to the time soon when all of our clients and staff are back at LOGAN.  

Yours in good health,

Matt Harrington
LOGAN President & CEO

_________________________________

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Today’s travel advisory, and other news

Today, a local disaster emergency was declared in St. Joseph County, and it automatically implemented a local travel advisory with only essential travel being permitted. Essential travel includes going to and from work, going to the grocery store, picking up prescriptions, visiting a doctor’s office, dropping kids off at daycare, picking up food, and traveling for emergencies. That essential travel includes how we serve our clients. Please note, within the local travel advisory there are three stages:  (1) Advisory; (2) Watch; and (3) Warning. Today’s declaration was a Level 2 Watch. People are not being fined at this level of emergency declaration. Stay tuned to local media for any changes to the local travel advisory.

As we continue to monitor daily our community conditions with guidance from local and state officials, we have taken the following actions:

  • All Community Habilitation programs are being suspended with the exception of Meals on Wheels. We will continue to support that important program, which provides meals to senior citizens in our community. We are taking precautions to minimize exposure risks while continuing this service.
  • Only essential visitors will be allowed in all LOGAN buildings and residential sites. If staff have questions about who qualifies as an essential visitor please reach out to Cheryl Schade for adult programs and Josh Diehl for child and adolescent programs. Further communication will be coming from each of them to their directors and managers.
  • We understand that some staff have medical conditions that put them in a high-risk category. Staff with medical conditions that put them in a high-risk category may, with written doctor’s orders and permission from their program Officer, work from home. If their job responsibilities cannot be accomplished remotely, they may be granted Paid Leave. If you have questions or want to discuss your high-risk concerns, please contact your program Officer.

We are anxiously awaiting two important pieces of legislation and policy news. LOGAN may benefit from federal legislation, and we are working to learn more. We are also in conversation with state officials about how potential changes to the Medicaid Waiver program may benefit LOGAN. We along with INARF, our state association, are advocating for help in a number of areas that would directly impact our clients and staff. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Yours in good health,

Matt Harrington
LOGAN President & CEO

_________________________________

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

LOGAN Recreation Program suspended

LOGAN Staff, Families and Friends,

I would like to share updates regarding COVID-19 in addition to those previously communicated.

  • Clients, and family members of clients, must disclose to LOGAN staff their domestic and international travel.  On a case-by-case basis, depending on where the travel occurred and level of exposure risk to COVID-19, we will determine if we will require a 14-day self-quarantine before returning to services.
  • If Staff have taken a COVID-19 test and have written doctor’s orders to be quarantined while waiting for the test results they will be paid during that time and not be required to use Paid Time Off (PTO).   If the staff tests positive for COVID-19, they will be paid during the doctor-required 14-day quarantine period.  If the staff tests negative for COVID-19, their initial 5-day quarantine will remain paid and they may return to work or utilize PTO for additional time off.
  • The Management Learning program on March 25 for Cohorts 3 & 4 will be delivered by video.  Participants will not meet in person but rather given a video to watch.  More details will follow.
  • All Recreation Program activities have been suspended through April 5, 2020.  The LOGAN event at Camp RayBird has been postponed to a to-be-determined date in August.
  • We are working to advise family members and guardians about program participation when we feel there is a higher level of individual risk.
  • We continue to implement social distancing and minimize group size in our facilities.

Please know that on a daily basis we are giving serious consideration to continue or suspend programs.  Utilizing all of the information available to us – including government and hospital officials, industry leaders, staff and families –  we are making the best decisions at that moment in time.  Information is rapidly changing so we are reviewing these decisions daily.  We will continue to promote the self-selection by clients and families to participate in available LOGAN programs.  Although many clients and their families are choosing to remain home, we have even more that are still attending programs and have expressed a strong desire for LOGAN to continue services.  Should we suspend LOGAN programs, we are planning to give staff the opportunity to be reassigned to operating programs.

Our efforts are a combination of daily decision-making along with short and long-term contingency planning.  We will continue to regularly gather all information to make decisions for the good of everyone at LOGAN. 

Yours in good health,

Matt Harrington
LOGAN President & CEO

_________________________________

Monday, March 16, 2020

Operational changes being implemented in response to COVID-19

LOGAN Staff, Families and Friends –

As you are aware information about COVID-19 and actions for the prevention of community transmission is rapidly changing.  We will continue to listen to federal, state, local and industry officials;  review our preventative measures; and be ready to act quickly on new information.  Since Friday, we are implementing the following operational changes:

Visitors and Volunteers

Only “Essential Visitors” will be permitted in LOGAN facilities.  Essential visitors include participants in client meetings, family members and guardians, job candidates for interviews, regulatory personnel, vendors needed for us to conduct business; and Board of Directors and Committee members.  The LOGAN Volunteer program will be suspended until further notice.

International Travelers

Effectively immediately, all staff who schedule international travel in the future will be required to self-quarantine with unpaid leave for 14 days before returning to work.  As are people with domestic travel, international travelers must, upon completion of their 14-day quarantine, call in to their department Director for a symptom screening before returning to work.

Staff Time-Off

As of today, all of LOGAN’s services will continue as usual.  We are aware of employees concerns regarding the use of Paid Time Off (PTO) and are exploring options.  We continue to monitor potential federal and state legislation that may include relief to employers in assisting with increased PTO as well as reviewing all resources available to us.   Employees may request unpaid leave related to COVID-19 and when approved will not be subject to disciplinary measures as outlined in the Unpaid Time Off policy.  Their position will be available to them when they return to work.  As with any unpaid leave, employees are still responsible for their benefits premiums normally paid through payroll deductions.  Please contact Akilah Love, LOGAN’s Total Compensation Manager, at (574) 289-4831 or alove@logancenter.org for compensation and insurance questions.

As communicated in Friday’s message, if a staff member receives a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 from a hospital clinic requiring a self-quarantine of 14 days for themselves or their dependent, the use of PTO will not be required. They will be paid for the time off required by quarantine.

Child Care

We recognize that child care is a related issue to COVID-19, especially with school closures.  We continue to explore options related to child care.  One option not available to staff is to bring your children to work.  That presents increased risk for you, your children, our clients and your co-workers.

I will continue to provide you information in a timely manner as we address all issues relate to COVID-19.  We expect regular guidance from both the State of Indiana and Michigan on how to best deliver services in specific settings. 

Yours in good health,

Matt Harrington
LOGAN President & CEO

________________________________

Friday, March 13, 2020

LOGAN continues preventative measures to protect from COVID-19

LOGAN Staff and Families,

I want to provide you an update regarding our efforts to ensure the health and safety of our clients, staff and community regarding COVID-19.

We have remained in regular contact with the St. Joseph County Health Department and local hospital officials in addition to monitoring information from all counties in our service area.  We will continue to monitor information and follow the recommendations of the health departments.  As of today, all of LOGAN’s services will continue as usual. We understand that some families may self-select to not participate in services and that desire should be communicated to LOGAN staff.  Should we determine any activities are high-risk we will make changes as necessary and those will be communicated directly to families/guardians and in future messages.  If local or state health officials advise us to suspend facility-based programs, Direct Support Professionals and other related staff in those programs will be reassigned to Group Living and Supporting Living homes which will continue to serve our clients. 

This week we have consistently communicated preventative measures to staff and are regularly cleaning frequently-touched surfaces, including the use of a commercial sanitizing machine in rotation at all LOGAN facilities.  Our practices are aligned with those recommended by the county health departments with the common goal of preventing the community spread of COVID-19.  LOGAN has developed Pandemic Planning and Response Guidelines as a plan for COVID-19.  The plan will continue to evolve as community conditions change and updated versions will be posted on our website (click here) and distributed to staff via email. 

In addition to the plan, I would like to share the following information:

  • The Great LOGAN Nose-On luncheon will not be held on March 23 and we will be providing a Virtual Nose-On celebration in place of the luncheon.  Details will be shared next week.  Disability Awareness Day scheduled for March 31 has been cancelled.  Events beyond March 31 will be evaluated in the next few weeks.
  • Staff planning personal travel will need to disclose that to their supervisor and department Director.  Staff returning from personal travel will need to call in to their department Director for a symptom screening before returning to work.  Directors will be provided a list of questions to ask staff and should symptoms be present the staff will be required to seek medical attention.  Non-essential business travel is being suspended at this time.
  • Paid leave will be granted to staff with a written, clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 from a hospital or clinic requiring a self-quarantine of 14 days from themselves or their dependent.  The use of PTO will not be required.  As of this writing there are no LOGAN staff or clients diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Small gatherings of visitors and outside guests to LOGAN facilities will continue.  Large gatherings and meetings are being suspended.
  • Contingency plans are being developed in the event that community conditions change and demand further action.

We continue to expect that all staff, clients and families take preventative measures.  Everyone should self-monitor for the common COVID-19 symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.  Families should keep sick children home and staff should use PTO if sick. 

Please know that the LOGAN leadership remains ready and prepared to respond to various scenarios related to COVID-19.  We will continue to consult with local county and hospital officials and make decisions on their recommendations.  Further communication will be distributed weekly or more often as needed through email and social media with postings on our website www.logancenter.org.

I recognize that COVID-19 is impacting all of us in many ways.  We will take steps necessary to continue providing quality services for those that need us while considering how we can best support our staff as they serve our clients and care for themselves and their families.

Yours in good health,

Matt Harrington
LOGAN President & CEO

______________________________________

Sunday, March 8, 2020

LOGAN monitoring COVID-19 developments

LOGAN Staff and Families,

We place the utmost importance on the health and safety of our staff, clients, volunteers and guests at LOGAN.   With that in mind, we are monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Health Department regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  We are consulting with local health officials regarding our unique service model and will work with them to take action as needed.

Based on current conditions, we recommend that clients and staff with flu-like symptoms stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a temperature of 100 (without a fever reducer).  Call your doctor and ask for directions should you feel sick with flu-like symptoms.  PTO should be used in these circumstances so that we limit the spread of the flu to other staff and clients. 

We will continue to communicate the importance of preventative measures, such as washing hands often with soap and water, refrain from touching your face, properly covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and using the hand sanitizer dispensers available at all LOGAN locations. We are also taking steps to regularly clean frequently touched surfaces, including the use of a commercial sanitizing machine in rotation at LOGAN facilities.

All of us have a role in keeping LOGAN a healthy place.  Should health officials communicate a change of conditions that necessitate additional action we expect that all staff and families will comply with all health official requests. We appreciate your cooperation during this time. Please share this communication with LOGAN families and guardians.

Thank you,

Matt Harrington
LOGAN President & CEO