OCR Issues Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA Flexibilities That Apply During the COVID-19 Emergency

March 28, 2020

OCR Issues Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA Flexibilities That Apply During the COVID-19 Emergency

Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing a bulletin to ensure that entities covered by civil rights authorities keep in mind their obligations under laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, and exercise of conscience and religion in HHS-funded programs, including in the provision of health care services during COVID-19.

OCR is particularly focused on ensuring that covered entities do not unlawfully discriminate against people with disabilities when making decisions about their treatment during the COVID-19 health care emergency.

OCR enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Age Discrimination Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act which prohibits discrimination in HHS funded health programs or activities.  These laws, like other civil rights statutes OCR enforces, remain in effect. As such, persons with disabilities should not be denied medical care on the basis of stereotypes, assessments of quality of life, or judgments about a person’s relative “worth” based on the presence or absence of disabilities or age. Decisions by covered entities concerning whether an individual is a candidate for treatment should be based on an individualized assessment of the patient and his or her circumstances, based on the best available objective medical evidence.

“Our civil rights laws protect the equal dignity of every human life from ruthless utilitarianism,” said Roger Severino, OCR Director.  “HHS is committed to leaving no one behind during an emergency, and helping health care providers meet that goal.” “Persons with disabilities, with limited English skills, and older persons should not be put at the end of the line for health care during emergencies.”  Severino added.

The Bulletin may be found at: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ocr-bulletin-3-28-20 – PDF

Today’s bulletin also reminds health care covered entities of unprecedented HIPAA flexibilities recently made available by OCR in response to the COVID-19 emergency concerning:

For general information regarding COVID-19, please see: https://www.coronavirus.gov/


~Laura S. Nata   

Director of Peer Support

Families Helping Families of  Greater New Orleans &

Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center
700 Hickory Avenue,  Harahan LA  70123

504.888.9111 (ext) 209  (fax) 504.353.2350  (toll free) 1.800.766.7736


Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans d/b/a Families Helping Families of Jefferson and Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center is a statewide agency and an IRS approved 501 (c) 3 charitable organization.  All of our programs, services  and resources are free to families of children with disabilities in the state of Louisiana.

Donations are gladly accepted and appreciated.

Any information provided by Families Helping Families of Greater New Orleans (FHF) and/or Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center (LaPTIC), its staff, and/or its volunteers is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Any information expressed or implied is not intended nor should be construed as legal, medical, or other professional advice. FHF and/or LaPTIC does not render legal, medical, or professional advice or recommendations; nor is legal, medical, or other professional advice implied by any information given. Any information provided should not replace consultations with qualified legal, educational, healthcare, or other professionals to meet individual or professional needs. Reference to any program, service, therapy, links to external websites, surveys or treatment option does not imply endorsement or support a product, service or opinion by FHF and/or LaPTIC or by its organizational staff/members and should not be construed as such. If any content is ever incorrect, inappropriate or unclear, we will always do what is appropriate to rectify and correct any errors.

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

Some COVID19 assistance resources to share with your networks

Hi everyone, 

Hope you are staying healthy and well! As we go into another dramatic week of COVID19, I just wanted to share some key assistance resources for your networks as our community struggles with the social & economic fallout of COVID19. Some of these were mentioned on the last NOHSEP/VOAD call and were asked to be shared with the group – see below.

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Hotline:

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services has launched a toll-free civil legal help hotline to assist low-income residents of southeast Louisiana impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.Please call the hotline at 1-844-244-7871, Monday-Friday, from 9am-5pm.  Callers must meet financial and other requirements to receive free civil legal assistance. People who qualify will be matched with an attorney who will provide free legal help with civil legal issues, including:  Unemployment Benefits Denials; Inability to Apply for Unemployment; Wage Claim, Paid Sick Time, Family Medical Leave Act, or other Job-Related Issues; Tenant’s Rights Issues like Evictions or Lockouts; Problems with Housing Authorities or Section 8 Voucher; Landlord-Tenant Disputes; Mortgage or Foreclosure Issues; Veterans Legal Issues; Wills/Living Wills or Successions; Social Security Disability and SSI; Food Stamps Denials; Inability to Apply for Food Stamps; TANF/Welfare Issues; Medicaid Benefits Denials; Inability to Apply for Medicaid Benefits; Protective Orders for Domestic Violence Victims; and Custody/Visitation Issues related to COVID-19. Online applications are also available at www.slls.org

Disability Rights Louisiana Hotline:

Offering legal services for those with disabilities. If you encountering disability-related issues, please reach out to Disability Rights Louisiana by calling504-522-2337, or toll free number, 1-800-966-7705. While they are not taking walk-ins at this time, their services are still available. If you have a disability related issue or concern regarding to COVID-19, please call or email at: COVID-19@disabilityrightsla.org. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.

To  Fill Out Online Intake Form for Additional Assistance https://disabilityrightsla.org/get-help-now/

Catholic Charities COVID Disaster Case Management Hotline:

Catholic Charities is offering assistance for benefits enrolment and can assist folks in completing: SNAP Application/Re-certification; Medicaid Application; and Benefit Enrolment Checkup For assistance, with enrolment, please contact:  Mary Smith Office (504) 861-6360 cell (504) 605-9248. You can visit Catholic Charities website here: http://www.ccano.org/press/coronavirus-precautions/

NOLA Ready Assistance Webpage: 

There are lots of resources around free food and meal distribution, legal support services, unemployment insurance, crisis grants, mental health hotlines, and more listed on the NOLA Ready Assistance page. Please check it out for additional information: https://ready.nola.gov/incident/coronavirus/assistance/#assistance. The website is available in Spanish and Vietnamese.

Low Income Seniors & Special Medical Needs Homebound Resident Meal Delivery 

If you know of low income seniors or those who are dealing with chronic illness and are homebound and in need of meals, you can refer them to 311. Hands On New Orleans, in partnership with World Central Kitchen, are working hard to deliver meals to those low income seniors and folks with special medical needs. If your organization is already working with seniors and can support them directly, PLEASE DO SO FIRST instead of referring them to 311.

Other Food Needs: 

Please see the NOLA Ready Assistance Webpage for a list of additional food resources, such as current pantries, food distribution sites, school meals, NORD afterschool meals and more. Residents in need can also call 211 to locate the nearest Second Harvest Food Pantry is for them. There will be additional food distribution efforts in the coming weeks, coordinated by the wonderful NOLA Tree Project Team. Stay tuned for more details.

Grocery & Prescription Pick Ups

I also wanted to share that if you are hearing of vulnerable residents who need groceries delivered or prescriptions picked up, the GNO Caring Collective has stepped up and has volunteers who can assist seniors, individuals with special medical needs, and other vulnerable residents on that front. The GNO Caring Collective was formed in 2020 as response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They offer assistance with school meal delivery, laundry, grocery and supply deliveries, and limited financial assistance. For more information about them: https://www.gnocaringcollective.org/get-help

Diapers & Feminine Hygene Products

The Junior League of New Orleans is partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank to distribute diapers and feminine hygene products throughout the Greater New Orleans area. Click here for a list of locations for pick up. 

Financial Assistance for Hospitality Workers & Gig Economy Workers 

The following funds may be helpful resources to hospitality and gig economy workers:

United Way of Southeast Louisiana Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund

Greater New Orleans Foundation Service and Hospitality Family Assistance Program

MACCNO COVID 19 Assistance for the Cultural Community  

GNOF Virtual COVID19 Townhalls for Non-Profits

GNOF is offering free webinars for non-profits to help support them through the pandemic.The webinar series, Nonprofit Essentials for Preparing for the COVID-19 Pandemic, will feature experts in the field and cover such topics as “Communication Practices, Human Resources – Supporting Staff”, Short-Term Financial Responsiveness, and Continuity of Operations. To view webinars: https://www.gnof.org/covid19-nonprofits/

In addition, I  included the COVID19 Volunteer Guidelines as that was requested during the call. As well as a summary of the CARES Act for Non-profits that I received from the FEMA 6 Region liason.

Stay well & thank you for all your incredible work these past few weeks!


Leila Darwish

Community Engagement Coordinator – NOLA Ready

New Orleans Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness


Cell: 504-250-9824



Louisiana Volunteer Guidelines - COVID-19.docx (1)2_Louisiana Volunteer Guidelines - COVID-19.docx (1)3_Louisiana Volunteer Guidelines - COVID-19.docx (1)4_Louisiana Volunteer Guidelines - COVID-19.docx (1)



April 8 Training Opportunity: FEMA Training for Non Profits & Faith Organizations for COVID 19

Hi Everyone,
There is a 1 hr online FEMA training on April 8th at 1:30pm CST.
The training is for non-profits and faith groups who may be interested in understanding how to properly contract during emergency or exigent circumstances when using federal funds.
To listen in:

Phone Number: 1-888-270-9936
Access Code: 101-7496

See attached for more information. We are Region 6, so scroll down for the call in/online registration information from that section.
Leila Darwish
Community Engagement Coordinator – NOLA Ready
New Orleans Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
FEMA Training Opportunity- COVID-19 Guidance- Purchasing under Exigent and Emergency Circumstances2_FEMA Training Opportunity- COVID-19 Guidance- Purchasing under Exigent and Emergency Circumstances
3_FEMA Training Opportunity- COVID-19 Guidance- Purchasing under Exigent and Emergency Circumstances4_FEMA Training Opportunity- COVID-19 Guidance- Purchasing under Exigent and Emergency Circumstances5_FEMA Training Opportunity- COVID-19 Guidance- Purchasing under Exigent and Emergency Circumstances

U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes More Guidance for Workers and Employers Explaining Paid Sick Leave, Expanded Family and Medical Leave Benefits

Dear Stakeholder,

The department continues to issue new guidance and press around FFCRA and WHD’s current published guidance (with links) is listed below.  Today’s new guidance includes an updated set of Q and As.  Please share them with your stakeholders as appropriate.  https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200327

News Release
U.S. Department of Labor | March 27, 2020

U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes More Guidance for Workers and Employers Explaining Paid Sick Leave, Expanded Family and Medical Leave Benefits

 WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced more guidance to provide information to workers and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.

The new guidance includes questions and answers addressing critical issues such as what documents employees can be required to submit to their employers to use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave; whether workers can take paid sick leave intermittently while teleworking and whether workers whose employers closed before the effective date of the FFCRA can still get paid sick leave.

This guidance adds to a growing list of compliance assistance materials published by WHD, including a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers,and an earlier Questions and Answers document. Available are two new posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under this new law, Questions and Answers about posting requirements and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy.

“The Wage and Hour Division is delivering necessary information so that American workers and employers can receive this much needed relief,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “We are working to ensure that workers and employers have the tools they need to maximize the benefits they are entitled to when this law goes into effect on April 1, 2020.”

FFCRA, signed by President Trump, offers American businesses with fewer than 500 employees tax credits as reimbursement for providing employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19 and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

For more information about the laws enforced by the WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

For further information about COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the FLSA. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the FMLA, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

# # #

Media Contact:

Emily Weeks, 202-693-4681, weeks.emily.c@dol.gov

Release Number:  20-544-NAT

U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department’s Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).




COVID-19 Call for Volunteers

Dear CPS Community Partners and Friends,

In these unprecedented times, we need more than ever to think about our community, the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana. As a university with a strong tradition of public service and in line with our motto, Non sibi sed suis(not for oneself but for one’s own), we must respond to the call to meet the challenges COVID-19 has brought to our city and region. These next few months will in many ways define the future of our city and state.

Healthcare volunteers
We do not want any student who has left New Orleans during the COVID-19 outbreak to return until it is over. However, if you are a healthcare student, graduate, or an active member/retiree of the healthcare workforce currently residing in Louisiana, please consider volunteering to help the state and our healthcare system meet the challenges of COVID-19. Volunteers with backgrounds in the fields of medicine, nursing, allied health professions, dentistry, counseling, mental/behavioral health, laboratory science, among others, are all needed.

Sign up here to be a healthcare volunteer

Community volunteers
If you do not have healthcare training, but are willing to volunteer to support the community in other ways, there are opportunities in care coordination, community engagement, technology assistance, and many more areas that can use your talent and time.

Sign up here to volunteer in the community

As President Fitts wrote yesterday: “You can also have a sense of purpose and pride in knowing that you play a critical role, with your study, teaching, research and hard work, in bringing us successfully through this current crisis and helping us to emerge on the other side – together again.”

Stay safe,

Agnieszka Nance
Executive Director, Center for Public Service

Center for Public Service – Tulane University: Strength in Connection

Strength in Connection: How are you finding continued strength through virtual connections?
Via ZOOM, CPS staff meet at 10AM daily. CPS staff are available via phone and Zoom- Find a directory here. Want to gather in a community oriented group online? Sign up for a small group learning exchange between 4/8-4/10 with us here.  Find a presentation with ideas shared by local partners on developing virtual engagement projects here.

Moving the Needle Toward Equity: How are you working toward equity in this moment?
CPS is hosting a Racial Reconciliation & Equity Institute with Troi Bechet of the Center for Restorative Approaches and twenty participants from Tulane’s A Studio in the Woods, Newcomb Art Museum, and Center for the Gulf South who are saying that connecting around equity “is the best thing that has happened in the last two weeks, ” it’s “food for my soul” “good medicine” and it “keeps me thinking about what was discussed as I work throughout the day.” The program includes developing individual and collective action plans.

Opportunities & Resources 

Call for AmeriCorps VISTA Host Sites
Workshop: 4/2
RFP Deadline: 4/16

Click HERE to apply. The Tulane Center for Public Service invites community organizations interested in hosting AmeriCorps VISTA members for a 3 year partnership to respond to the 2020 RFP. AmeriCorps VISTA members work to build capacity within local organizations to better serve their communities and combat poverty as well as developing long term relationships with Tulane. We hope to place new VISTA members by late summer 2020. The priority deadline for responses is April 16th and there will be a virtual application workshop on April 2nd at 9:00 CST. Please RSVP to Michael Pizzolatto, mpizzola@tulane.edu, for further workshop details.

U.S. Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) and Fulbright student Special Initiative-Graduate School Scholarships  Learn more HERE.

COVID 19 Needs & Resources 

Blood Donation
New Orleans area hospitals and hospitals around the country are in urgent need of blood donations. For more information about blood donation locations in the New Orleans area and donation procedures, please click here.

Other Donations
The following local partners are accepting and distributing community donations:

Greater New Orleans Foundation Donate here
New Orleans Council on Aging Donate here
Supplies for Saints Donate here
Junior League of New Orleans Diaper BankDonate here
Second Harvest Food Bank Donate here

Volunteer Opportunities
The following organizations are collaborating with volunteers to assist in COVID-19 community support:

Second Harvest Food Bank Sign up here
Hands On New Orleans Sign up here
Medical & Behavioral Health Sign up here
Louisiana COVID-19 Healthcare Sign up here


Louisiana Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations which has many useful tips including low interest loans for nonprofits.

Drive Thru Testing
Testing fact sheet 

  • arrive in a vehicle. Walk-ups and bicycles are not allowed for the safety of our healthcare workers
  • be 18 years or older
  • be symptomatic

Mahalia Jackson Theater Parking Lot, 1419 Basin Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena Parking Lot, 6801 Franklin Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70148
Alario Center on the Westbank, 2000 Segnette Blvd, Westwego, LA 70094 . Operated by the Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Department.

*Disclaimer* Some of the above information has been compiled from 3rd party sources. Changes are ongoing. Please check accuracy of information directly with provider.

CPS Quick Links

COVID 19 Website

Tulane CPS

Service Learning 


CPS Online

Anonymous Survey

Tulane Calendar

Submit Content

More info on hosting VISTAs here.
More info on grad school scholarships here.
Donate here
Donate here
Donate here to Supplies for Saints
Donate here to the Diaper Drive
Donate here to the food bank
Resources for Nonprofits 
Tulane University’s Center for Public Service, 6823 St. Charles Avenue, Alcee Fortier Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)’s paid leave provisions are effective today April 1, 2020

Dear Stakeholder,

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid leave provisions become effective today, April 1, 2020.   The U.S. Department of Labor will soon issue implementing regulations.  Additionally,  the Department will continue to provide compliance assistance to employers and employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA.  Please refer to the links below for available fact sheets, required posters as well as frequently updated common questions and answers:

 Fact Sheets

Questions and Answers


Field Assistance Bulletin

WHD Response to COVID-19

For further information about Coronavirus, please visit the HHS’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


William Sabik 

Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialist
United States Department of Labor

Wage and Hour Division
New Orleans District Office
600 S. Maestri Place, Suite 615
New Orleans, LA 70130