Troubleshooting the participant half of telehealth connections

At GSDC, we have made it our focus to maximize participant and staff safety through social distancing, mandatory face masking for staff, regular disinfection of surfaces according to CDC protocols, and following all local and national guidelines during this pandemic. Through our telehealth services, we are able to continue to provide the same quality of therapeutic assistance that our participants have come to expect from us in person.

However, technology doesn’t always play nicely, and that is especially true when two parties need their internet connections to get along. If you have experienced telehealth difficulties and it’s due to a connection issue on your end, we want to help in whatever way we can.

We have created the following short guide as a starting place for troubleshooting potential connection problems. Additionally, please feel free to reach out to our IT staff if you’re experiencing telehealth connection issues beyond the scope of this guide.

Click here for a printable PDF copy of this guide (4.5″ x 6″)

Help the Idaho Council of Developmental Disabilities with a short survey!

At Gem State Developmental Center, we have always been strong supporters of groups that advocate for the people we serve, including the Idaho Council of Developmental Disabilities. Every five years, the ICDD conducts an anonymous survey, seeking out ideas from the community to improve the lives of those with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.

The survey is available online in English and Spanish until June 30, 2020, and it will take about 20 minutes to complete. Just click the links below to be redirected to the survey:

If you need help with the survey or would like a paper copy, call 208-334-2178, or email

We’re participating in the “Keep Meridian Healthy & Open for Business” campaign!

We are proud to announce that we are participating in the Keep Meridian Healthy & Open for Business campaign, created by the Meridian Chamber of Commerce. We are focused on keeping our community safe and healthy during these trying times, and fully embrace the health-focused values and training opportunities provided by the this campaign.

Keep Meridian Healthy Logo

As a part of this program, we’re excited to receive enhanced training from health professionals and public agency representatives in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. By working with industry experts and the Meridian business community, we can achieve our top priorities: protecting our participants, our employees, and their families.

To learn more about the Keep Meridian Healthy & Open for Business campaign, please visit

Keep Meridian Healthy Guidelines

COVID-19 Re-Entry Intake

For a printable PDF version of this document, click here.

Under administrative direction and approval, before services are provided or received, each person must be generally healthy, free from communicable disease, and show no signs of contagious and infectious illness.

During the COVID–19 pandemic, people with COVID–19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID–19:

  • Fever, chills, or headache
  • Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue, muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Anyone who exhibits any contagious and infectious illness or symptoms will need to seek medical assistance and stay home for a certain time period. The administration will use CDC guidelines and determine time period.

Before direct support staff and participants are permitted to return, provide, and/or receive services and supports, they must receive administrative approval. Approval is conditional on their health and responses to the following questions.

  1. Has he/she show any signs or symptoms of COVID–19 in the last 14 days? 
  2. Has he/she been tested for COVID–19? When? Results?
  3. Has anyone in the household been tested for COVID–19? When? Results?
  4. Has he/she or anyone in the household been advised by a health care professional to self–quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19? When?
  5. Has he/she been exposed or suspected to be exposed to anyone who showed symptoms of or was COVID–19? Who? When?
  6. Has he/she traveled out of state in the last fourteen days? When? Where? How Long?
  7. Does he/she have contact with people at higher risk for infection, especially those who are 60 years and older, with respiratory and/or severely weakened immune system issues?

ŸAnyone tested positive for COVID–19 and exhibiting symptoms:

If anyone shows signs of illness, they will be encouraged to wear a mask and strictly follow the social distancing guidelines. Typically, the person can be around others after:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without fever–reducing medications and
  • Other COVID–19 symptoms are improving. Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation

People who are severely ill with COVID–19 might need to stay home longer than 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared. Persons who are severely immunocompromised may require testing to determine when they can be around others. Seek healthcare provider assistance.

Anyone tested positive for COVID–19 but having no symptoms:

If people continue to have no symptoms, they can be with others after 10 days have passed since the person had a positive viral test for COVID–19.

Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID–19 should stay home for 14 days after their last exposure to that person:

Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID–19 and who meets the following criteria does NOT need to stay home.

  • Has COVID–19 illness within the previous 3 months and
  • Has recovered and
  • Remains without COVID–19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath)

Anyone who may be asymptomatic and pre–symptomatic COVID–19:

Protect yourself and others by wearing face coverings, practice good hand washing, follow universal precautions, and avoid touching nose, mouth, and eyes.

Reference: CDC Return to Work Criteria and Guidelines, September 11, 2020 and August 10, 2020, respectively and

Tiered Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

For a printable PDF version of this document, click here.

The COVID–19 pandemic and public health emergency have shaped the way we do things and required us to examine our social practices, community consciousness, and the way we provide services in the home, community, and center–based settings. It’s unknown when a COVID–19 vaccine will be available, local and state social distancing orders will be lifted, and re–entry criteria will be established; however, the company will continue to practice good universal precautionary actions, handwashing, follow CDC guidelines and recommendations, and adhere to the following re–entry matrix, criteria and guidelines. Our predominate drive is to keep everyone safe, healthy, and well, while doing what we can to see a containment or downward turn of COVID–19 confirmed cases.

Tier I

We will protect ourselves and others from exposure to disease causing organisms such as tuberculosis, pertussis, shigellosis, streptococcal, conjunctivitis, chicken pox, head lice and scabies, influenza, bronchitis, & COVID–19, with everyday preventive actions.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol–based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Open windows to enhance fresh airflow and ventilation.
  • Be vigilant on keeping yourself and others safe, healthy, and protected from respiratory illnesses.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Contaminated surfaces can transmit the influenza virus for 24 hours.
  • Following company’s Operational Policies and Procedures on Communicable Disease.

The company will monitor, obtain, and furnish disinfectant and hand sanitation supplies for staff and Medicaid participants to use. The dispensers and hand washing stations are readily available.

If people are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, they will:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow (as per CDC cough etiquette) or with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Tier II

The company will heighten its efforts to protect ourselves and others from respiratory illness with the supplemental preventive actions.

  • GSDC will monitor for every person entering the work site. Those attempting to enter the building are required to report to a company representative. The person entering the work site should not exhibit symptoms of a respiratory illness or fever. If the individual’s response is that they are experiencing symptoms, they will be restricted from entering the site.
  • If you must meet face–to–face, use the largest available conference room. Larger rooms have better ventilation. There is more room to spread out.
  • Small groups are better than big groups because it reduces the risk of exposure.
  • Wearing masks are encouraged, but not required for staff [covering nose and mouth, breathing without restrictions and launder and machine dried without damage] when engaging with others, where social distancing [three feet or less] may be difficult.
  • Deep–cleaning and disinfecting frequently efforts in high–traffic, high–volume areas. Those assisting with cleaning areas will receive direct instruction on proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Communal areas such as dayrooms, restrooms and offices are cleaned at a minimum of once per day and more if needed. Disinfecting frequency has been increased, including regular disinfecting of touchpoints (telephones, doorknobs, desk areas, etc.). All cleaning practices will allow for physical distancing of staff.
  • Medicaid participants will be encouraged to wear masks [face covering] at places open to the public; however, direct support professionals will keep Medicaid participants safe by postponing access to public places when the Medicaid participants’ tolerance or use of facial masks could result in harm.
  • Face coverings may not be advantageous outdoors, unless contact with others are inevitable.
  • Face coverings should not be worn while driving vehicles.

Tier III

The company will enhance its precautions by adding these additional measures and actions.

  • Wearing masks are encouraged, but not required for staff [covering nose and mouth, breathing without restrictions and launder and machine dried without damage] when engaging with others, where social distancing [six feet] may be difficult.
  • Medicaid participants will be encouraged to wear masks, but not required [face covering] at places open to the public. However, direct support professionals will keep Medicaid participants safe by postponing access to public places when the Medicaid participants cannot tolerate or use of facial masks to keep them from harm.
  • Face coverings may not be advantageous outdoors, unless contact with others are enviable.
  • Face coverings should not be worn while driving vehicles.
  • Avoid handshakes. Handshaking as a customary greeting enables virus transmission through skin–to–skin contact. Substitute something else — smile, wave, or bump elbows.
  • Avoid the lunchroom rush. Whether you eat lunch in the designed area, avoid the rush. Eat earlier, later, or eat with just a few people in a quiet area, inside or out.
  • Avoid the commuter rush periods. When non–emergent transportation providers arrive, take advantage of available spacing to avoid exposure to crowds.
  • Substitute tele–meetings for face–to–face meetings. Reducing the number or duration of face–to–face meetings reduce the opportunity for virus transmission. Shift as much of the agenda as possible to email or teleconference.
  • Social distancing of six feet or more. People who are less than six feet away from an infected person more, especially for those with greatest risk of infection. Those with greater risk will be asked to stay home.
  • If you have traveled from an affected area, there may be restrictions on your movements for up to fourteen days. If you develop symptoms during that period (fever, cough, trouble breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and a loss of taste or smell), seek medical advice. The individual will self–quarantined for 14 days.
  • Suspend intake, reducing the density in congregate settings, screening of all those entering the facility, have masks and hand sanitizer available to all staff and population, and suspending in–person visiting and volunteering.
  • Strictly following the social distancing guidelines and spacing individuals to minimize cluster groups by limiting to gatherings of fewer than 10 people.
  • Establish and limit room capacity to adhere to social–distancing guidelines.
  • Volunteers will not be permitted to enter the facility until further notice.

Tier IV

Company institutes company–wide partial furloughs or layoffs due to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19. Enough workforce remains to provide services to Medicaid participants; however, not all Medicaid participants may not be able to access supports and services. The company may implemented a mandatory 14–day stay–at–home order and self–quarantine certain employees and Medicaid participants to ensure recovery and signs and symptoms of COVID–19 are absent.

  • Wearing masks are required [covering nose and mouth, breathing without restrictions and launder and machine dried without damage] when engaging with others, social distancing will be strictly enforced. When social distancing cannot occur with certain Medicaid participants, services will be temporary discontinued to said participant.
  • Medicaid participants will wear masks [face covering] at places open to the public; however, when the Medicaid participants cannot tolerate facial masks, services will be temporary discontinued to the said participant.
  • Face coverings will be used for all on and off–site activities.

Tier V

Company temporary closes and discontinues to offer and provide services. The company may institute company–wide furloughs or layoffs due to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation orders related to COVID–19 or existing workforce is unavailable, due to having symptoms or quarantined related to COVID–19, to provide services to Medicaid participants. Administration will monitor federal, state, or local activities and general workforce condition to determine the best course of action.

IRS: COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments for individuals receiving Social Security

In this time of uncertainty, we want to offer as many helpful resources to our community as we can.

If you or someone you love is currently receiving social security, you will likely be receiving an automatic Economic Impact Payment from the IRS. Please refer to the US Treasury’s April 1 press release for more details. Additionally, take a look at the IRS’s official web resource on coronavirus tax relief for answers to more questions you may have regarding taxpayers impacted by COVID-19.

Stay safe and stay healthy!

COVID-19 Coronavirus – Information for Parents, Providers, Participants and Staff

Parents, Providers, Participants and Staff:

In light of the COVID-19 coronavirus we would like to take a moment to reassure you of our commitment to you and your family’s health by sharing details about our office protocols. 

Currently, GSDC has plans to stay open with modifications to our services. 

We currently use the “Universal Precautions” protocol as defined by the CDC. In the health care industry this means that we assume all blood and bodily fluids are infected.  These guidelines were implemented after the AIDS virus changed the world in the mid-1980’s.  They have been upgraded and perfected as time has passed with better standards, sanitization materials and techniques.  We have embraced and adopted all of the latest techniques and have utilized them for many years as the standard protocols in our office.

We have implemented more frequent sanitization, disinfection and hygiene protocols on a daily or more frequent basis.  We plan to continue providing the quality of care and maintain these high standards and due to the COVID-19 virus we are implementing a few new policies for everyone’s safety and protection:

  • All in-person meetings will be cancelled.  Meetings may be planned via phone or video conferencing.
  • Participants will be visually screened for illness upon arrival and will have their temperature taken if there is reason to believe they are not feeling well.  Please monitor and evaluate each participant prior to sending them to the center.
  • Any staff or participant with a temperature of 100.4 or more will be sent home.  We have identified rooms where these individuals may wait until their ride has arrived as to not expose others.
  • Visitors will not be allowed at the centers unless they are there to drop off or pick up participants or for medical needs.
  • Community outings will be modified or cancelled.  We will not be going to places where there would be 50 or more people, such as large shopping businesses, bowling or the YMCA.  We will not be eating at buffets and will modify lunch outings to small groups or take out only.
  • These criteria will change as needed and information will be updated via email or our Facebook business page.

Again, currently we plan to stay open during our regular hours and continue to provide the high level of care and concern that our participants expect and deserve.  We hope that after reviewing our existing protocols and sharing those that have been newly added, you can rest assured that your continued health is our primary concern. 

For more information on the prevention and management of COVID-19, please consult the following articles by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and St. Luke’s Health System.  Additionally, the Idaho state government maintains a coronavirus resource page with information targeted at our local community.

If you have any further questions, please contact us.

Thank you for your trust and confidence in the GSDC team. 

Thank you,

Lori Jo Poole, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Owner & Clinical Director of Adult Services

Welcome to the new website!

It’s now 2020, and we’ve had a number of exciting new changes at Gem State Developmental Center. Among those changes, we’ve decided that our old website needed a bit of updating, and today we’re proud to present you with our new layout.

This new design isn’t just for aesthetics. Our website is now mobile-friendly, meaning it will automatically optimize itself for easy reading on your phone or tablet. So please, take a look on your phone (if you aren’t already)!

While most of the content is currently the same as our old version, we have also implemented a more dynamic news system, allowing us to communicate with you faster and with more clarity.

As the year unfolds, keep your eyes on our website for more exciting changes and enhancements!