We are pleased to share that as of August 2021, QUALITYstarsNY Quality Improvement Specialists (QI Specialists) have resumed in-person visits with some of their participating programs. The QUALITYstarsNY model of continuous quality improvement relies on regular meetings between QI Specialists and program leaders and staff on-site so they can most effectively offer individualized guidance to help programs realize their aspirations. These face-to-face interactions are key to developing a strong relationship between program leaders and their QI Specialist, which is not only fundamental to the proven model of QUALITYstarsNY, but considered by many of our participants to be the most valuable aspect of their participation.
As in-person visits have resumed, the safety of QUALITYstarsNY staff, participants, and the children and families they serve is of the utmost importance. QUALITYstarsNY has put into place certain protocols based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that our QI Specialists will be following to maintain health and safety during their on-site visits with programs.
Guidance for Participants: Health and Safety Protocols for On-site Visits
- Participants will be contacted by their QI Specialist before the scheduled visit to ask if there are any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the program. The visit will be conducted virtually if the program has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Please note: if a QI Specialist must get tested due to exposure, this precaution will prevent in-person visits to any and all of the programs they work with.
- During the visit, QI Specialists will be wearing a mask, physical distancing to the best of their ability, and doing proper and frequent hand washing. QI Specialists will also follow any other policies the program has established regarding visitors and health and safety protocols.
- Program staff meeting with the QI Specialist will be expected to follow health and safety regulations as stipulated by licensing and/or other oversight entities. It is highly suggested that, for the safety of the children, programs follow all recommended guidelines issued by the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), as applicable to their environments and ages of children served. Programs should alert their QI Specialist if there is a chance the QI Specialist was exposed to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 during an in-person visit.
- Please note that QI Specialists may visit more than one program per day. Participants should reach out to their QI Specialist immediately if they have any concerns about this practice.
- *QUALITYstarsNY will monitor the percentage of positive cases in any one county to determine when an in-person visit may be a health risk. QI Specialists will communicate with program leaders when there is a need to shift scheduled in-person visits to virtual visits until the data shows a percentage deemed safe.
- QI Specialists may need to switch in-person visits to virtual/phone or reschedule a visit for other reasons than what is outlined above and will notify program leaders as soon as possible if any changes need to be made.
Program leaders should keep their QI Specialist informed if their visitor policies change at anytime in the coming months so their QI Specialist can follow all current protocols.
By the end of October 2021, if a program’s policies do not allow visitors on-site, the program is expected to provide a reasonable timeline for resuming in-person visits with their QI Specialist. In the meantime, virtual or phone meetings will continue as part of their regular participation in QUALITYstarsNY. If participants have any questions about these policies or procedures, they should contact their QI Specialist for further guidance.
*Resource calculating the county’s COVID-19 statistics