Your Story: Center for Developmentally Disabled responds to COVID-19

Center for Developmentally Disabled (CDD) provides housing and life-skill supports, day programming, and community integration services to 180 adults with developmental disabilities in the greater Kansas City metro area.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the people we work with in several ways.

Gone are the community outings, social gatherings, and visits from family and friends. Individuals are wearing masks in the common areas of the homes, and staff are wearing them all the time. 

CDD employees 322 people, the majority of whom work directly with individuals in the home. 

In order to reduce the traffic in the homes, staff have gone from eight-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts.

At locations where we serve some of most medically fragile individuals, staff have moved in so there is less risk for exposure. There are some individuals who do not understand what is happening, and these disruptions cause distress and emotional fatigue. Adding masks to the situation has increased that distress. Imagine that suddenly you cannot see the entire face of the person who is feeding you and changing your clothes, and you don’t understand why everyone is wearing masks.

Despite these obstacles, CDD has worked tirelessly to provide the same level of care through safer service methods.

Thanks to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, CDD has been able to access StationMD. 

StationMD is a telemedicine company that specializes in providing care to patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. StationMD has enabled CDD to minimize our individuals’ risk of exposure to the virus by making doctor visits virtual, rather than going to the ER or a doctor’s waiting room.

Not only does this allow our individuals to receive the medical care they need, it reduces unnecessary hospital use, allowing ERs to focus on serving those with medical emergencies and to deal with the patients who have COVID-19. 

By using StationMD instead of the ER, we have saved the Medicaid system thousands of dollars; individuals saw a doctor in a timelier manner; they received expedient diagnosis or treatment; and all of this occurred in the comfort and safety of their home. 

Since the pandemic started, providers like CDD have had to adjust in how we think, how we work, and how we deliver care. We have provided care to keep people safe from getting COVID-19, and we have provided the care for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Yet, when it comes to the state and federal assistance, providers of services to people with developmental disabilities are not receiving the financial assistance needed.

There is an opportunity for the state of Missouri to submit to the federal government what is known as Appendix K to request financial assistance for providers like CDD who are providing direct care in the face of this pandemic. 

As mentioned above, we have staff working longer hours to minimize the exposure to our clients, and we can’t get federal or state dollars to assist us with our increased cost. It is mind-blowing that individuals with developmental disabilities are again pushed aside and their needs not considered.

We ask that anyone reading this blog contact your local, state and federal legislator and remind them that providers of services to individuals with developmental disabilities deserve attention and assistance during this pandemic. 

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Editor’s note: This post is part of a blog series that shares the impact of the pandemic on our grantees and community partners. If you would like to share your story, please find out more here.

Read how these community partners have responded to the pandemic:


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Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006