Essential Information about HSVS's Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

March 20, 2020

Dear HSVS Community,

I’m writing to keep you abreast of how HSVS is responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19). During this very strange and difficult time, we are adjusting to the rapidly changing environment in order to continue to provide services to the vulnerable New Yorkers we care for.

Given the work we do every day, most of us are used to navigating crises. This feels very different, although I think the work we do prepares us for these times. The public health crisis we are experiencing is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, which is why we have been taking serious measures to keep our clients and staff safe. That is our top priority.

We are committed to making sure our work moves forward with our clients and their basic needs are met, especially if they are quarantined and/or there is a confirmed COVID case in a home.

Here are the major changes to our operations for now:

  • Mental health services will implement telehealth so that services can be provided to clients securely.

  • All employees will move to telecommuting except those in 24-hour programs.

  • Written and telephonic communications are being delivered daily at the program VP/Director-level to staff as the guidance varies widely based on the program requirements and is changing rapidly.

  • Departments are developing written modified duties and schedules for work hours for all their employees based on the rapidly changing guidance from our State and City regulators specific to each program to ensure we are following rules and keeping clients safe and cared for.

It’s clear that there will be months of hard times ahead. Our goal is to get through the immediate crisis and also for HSVS to emerge stronger as an organization, better equipped to help our clients in the years to come.

Please stay safe.

Dawn Saffayeh
Executive Director
HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services