Staff Information

All staff are encouraged to log into the employee portal for more information about employment policies and other topics, as well as links to additional training relating to the Covid-19 epidemic. If you need assistance to log in, please contact the IT Help Desk at 814-874-5614.

UPDATED Considerations for Travelers—Coronavirus in the U.S.

--As of 8-10-20--

With cases of Corona virus on the rise in many areas, we have updated our travel restrictions and recommendations.  To help you make the best decisions in your travel planning, please review these recommendations from the CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html

We also want to make you aware that we are implementing a new travel protocol based on updated recommendations from the CDC, PA Dept. of Health and other local governments to ensure the safety of the individuals we serve and of all of our fellow employees. This protocol requires the following:

  • Following recommendations from the Allegheny Dept. of Health, staff in our Pittsburgh Programs who travel anywhere outside of Pennsylvania must quarantine for 14 days upon returning home.
  • Following PA Dept. of Health and local mandates, employees who travel to or from areas deemed as hot spots must quarantine for a 14 day period upon their return.  Please check the list as these spots may change. Dept. of Health Updates list for travel restrictions:
    • Alabama
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • California
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Idaho
    • Iowa
    • Kansas
    • Louisiana
    • Mississippi
    • Missouri
    • Nebraska
    • Nevada
    • North Carolina
    • North Dakota
    • Oklahoma
    • South Carolina
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Wisconsin
  • PA Dept. of Health:  https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Travelers.aspx
  • Additionally, any employee using commercial travel (plane, train, interstate bus system) will need to self-quarantine for 72 hours upon return home before returning to work. Since research shows that symptoms frequently develop within 72 hours of exposure, this time period is intended to identify exposure from the more severe outbreaks. This time may coincide with the 14 day quarantine mandated above.
  • Staff that travel internationally will have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return home (as called for in CDC recommendations.)

Proof of return dates may be requested and employees should comply with the request.

In addition, we request that all staff discuss their travel plans with their supervisors so that we can better anticipate changes in staffing patterns and make other necessary preparations.

As the situation relating to the COVID-19 epidemic continues to change and evolve, we will be evaluating this protocol on an ongoing basis.  We will notify you of any changes via the employee portal that may be necessary to ensure a safe environment for our individuals and staff. Keep in mind that the mandates may change at any time and may impact on your travel plans as they are happening.  Mandates that are in effect at the time of your return will be enforced regardless of what was in effect at the time of your plans or departure.

Thank you for your dedication to the well-being of our individuals and families during these extraordinary and unusual circumstances.  I hope that summer brings you much needed time for relaxation with family, and continued good health and safety.

Kathleen Fling
Vice President, Human Resources

Guidance on Masks, Screening and Handwashing from the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP)

Guidance resource

Update for Day Program Staff

--As of 6-24-20--

While the transition to the “green phase” will enable many businesses in Erie and Philadelphia Counties to reopen on Friday, programs for persons with intellectual disabilities will not resume until detailed planning is completed over the next several weeks.  The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has issued comprehensive guidelines that we are currently implementing for the reopening of all community participation support facilities.

Please take a moment to review these Frequently Asked Questions to help you better understand what a return to services will mean for our staff as well as our adults.

Before any services can resume, we will be meeting with each individual and/or family member to determine their preferences for services and what accommodations may be required.

We understand that the past several months have likely been difficult and a great disruption in your life.  While we are all eager to move past the restrictions that have been in place, our first priority is ensuring the health and safety of our individuals and staff. We appreciate your patience as we work to ensure that all precautions are in place to limit the risk of infection.

Your supervisor will be contacting you within the coming weeks to provide more information about the reopening of services.  Please continue to do all that you can to remain healthy and safe.

Message to Staff

--As of 5-5-20--

Gov. Wolf’s announcement relaxing restrictions in Erie and other areas of northwestern Pennsylvania has led to many questions about how this may affect our individuals, staff and programs. The eased restrictions involve a very narrow segment of community businesses and, at least for the near future, will have little effect on how our services are currently conducted, and in some cases, how certain services have been suspended by the Office of Developmental Programs.

As we continue to follow guidelines and regulations from the Office of Developmental Programs and other government agencies, we want to share the following clarifications:

  • The current Day services in Erie and Warren counties that are closed will continue to remain closed until further notice.
  • All visitors, including families, continue to be restricted at our group homes and individuals are not to leave the group homes for visitation with their families at their family’s home. We are awaiting ODP guidelines for safely lifting this restriction and will keep staff and families informed about this process.
  • School and related educational activities will continue to be provided remotely; child care services will remain closed at our main facility.
  • Behavioral health services will continue to be provided.
  • Staff who are currently working remotely will continue to do so.
  • Visitors are restricted to essential staff at all of our locations. Everyone must wear a mask in all common areas; anyone entering buildings on our main campus or other locations will undergo a temperature check upon arrival.

I greatly appreciate the efforts of all of our staff who continue caring for our individuals during this challenging time. Your extra efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe have been very effective so far in minimizing the effect of the pandemic on our individuals and each other. The easing of restrictions will no doubt lead to more people going out into the community and actually may now create an even greater danger for our vulnerable population. I urge your continued vigilance with all measures that can help reduce the spread of infection.

This pandemic is indeed testing the resolve of all of us as we continue to do everything that we can to ensure that we all stay safe and healthy. Thank you for rising to this challenge and helping us all come through this crisis together.

Sincerely,

John Barber

Face Mask Resources

Face Masks Flyer

Instructions for Face Mask Use

How to Sew Face Masks

No-Sew Face Masks

A Message of Thanks

A Message for Our Employees

Dear Staff,

On behalf of the thousands of individuals and families we serve, I want to thank our dedicated employees for their steadfast commitment to our mission during this unprecedented emergency.  You are providing an essential service as you continue providing the life-sustaining care that our vulnerable population needs every day.

At this moment, hundreds of direct support professionals are working in our 95 group homes across Pennsylvania to make sure that our residents remain healthy and safe.  Many of these residents are medically fragile and have special dietary and other needs that have to be met to sustain them.  Our employees have not missed a beat in providing the highest quality care in these challenging circumstances. Our nursing team is at work 24 hours a day as a resource for medical issues and helping to ensure that every precaution is taken to maintain a healthy environment.

I would also like to salute our school faculty and therapists, who are personally reaching out to every student’s family to offer learning support. They are developing customized educational activities so that these children can continue making progress in their learning goals.

Our behavioral health professionals show great determination and resourcefulness in providing therapy and other assistance by telephone or video to children, adults and families with a broad range of mental health challenges.  Many times, they are the primary link to help families avert crisis and prevent inpatient hospitalization.

Across our organization, we have employees in human resources, finance, administration and other departments working long days to respond to the unexpected demands of this crisis and provide the support to keep our organization operating.  Other staff is continuing to contact families in programs that remain temporarily closed to look for a way to help.

Our employees put aside the anxieties that we are all experiencing to focus on helping our children, adults and families who may be facing situations we could never have anticipated just a few weeks ago. For this selflessness, I consider you, our essential employees, true heroes.

As our administrative team works to respond to this fluid and quickly changing situation, I am reassured by the commitment that our employees demonstrate every day that we will be able to meet the challenges of this crisis.  We are unified in this fight.

Thank you for all that you are doing to serve our children and adults entrusted to our care.

Sincerely,

John Barber

President/Chief Executive Officer

Highmark & Telemedicine

If you have telemedicine access through Highmark, Highmark is waiving all copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for the next 90 days because the safest place for you if you’re sick is at home. This includes behavioral health services for those feeling high levels of stress or anxiety. Check your plan at www.HighmarkBCBS.com Read instructions for setting up a telemedicine visit.

Visit your doctor without leaving home. Follow these easy instructions to set up a tele-med appointment.

Paychecks

Staff that currently are not enrolled in direct deposit will have their paychecks mailed to them during the social distancing and shelter in place order by our government or until further notification. Employees are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit; it's easy and free. You may do so by completing a form that will be included with your next check or by visiting the Employee Portal, Kronos Self Service and completing the online form. If any employee needs assistance in signing up or has questions, please contact Payroll at 814-874-5597. No need to stop by the Payroll office or any Barber facility.

Important Message to Staff

The Barber National Institute would like to publicly recognize and thank all of our dedicated employees for all that they do to care for our individuals – particularly during these challenging circumstances. The work that we perform is truly “essential and life-sustaining,” and it could not be done without our wonderful employees who continue to show their commitment to our mission.

As various government agencies issue directives, our work will always be designated as essential and our residential and Agency with Choice staff should follow their scheduled shifts. Staff should have received letters designating them as essential workers, or this can be downloaded from the employee portal.

Erie Mayor Joe Schember’s designation of a state of emergency in the City of Erie does not affect the delivery of our essential services, though it will enable Erie to access federal relief funding.

All employees should continue to carry out all enhanced infection control procedures including frequent hand washing and cleaning of high-touch surfaces.

Staff who are ill should follow their regular call-off procedures and will be asked specific screening questions. Employees who have questions are encouraged to contact their supervisors or Human Resources.