Together, we will successfully get through this and thrive.

by Vodec CEO Steve Hodapp

Vodec CEO Steve Hodapp

I’d like to share some of Vodec’s responses to COVID-19 and some of the unique challenges we face. COVID fatigue is shared by most, but please bear with me.

First, some acknowledgments. Many of Vodec’s responses are directly attributable to Andrea Smith. Andrea is our Quality Assurance Director. She has been the point person for navigating the myriad and ever-changing guidance from the CDC, NIH, OSHA and Iowa’s and Nebraska’s state and local Departments of Public Health.

Credit also goes to Joanne Hiller. Joanne is our HR Generalist. Joanne has been instrumental in management of the HIPAA and OSHA rules applicable to employees impacted by COVID.

In our finance department, Finance Director Aaron Houser and Accounts Payable Administrator Teresa Prosser have been responsible for requesting and/or tracking, then reporting about, the various COVID Cares Act and Payroll Protection Program funds received and subsequent COVID-related expenses.

Our foremost goal is protecting health and safety of Vodec consumers and employees. Through the pandemic, our health and safety policies increased in number and intensity. Toward that goal, we have made hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer available. We’ve gone through thousands of face masks. Bleach and bleach wipes have been used endlessly. Most in-person meetings have been suspended and replaced by virtual meetings, with investment made in employees’ training and necessary equipment in support of the virtual meetings. Social distancing has been in place and supplemented with physical barriers on table tops and in our vehicles. Outings in the community for consumers were put on hold.

Plus, and maybe most importantly, we made COVID vaccinations available for all employees and consumers earlier this year. I could go on, but I hope you get the idea that Vodec has been responsible in taking measures to protect health and safety of our people.

Consumers sheltering at home voluntarily or involuntarily has been a significant challenge for consumers and for Vodec. Absence from programs negatively impacts consumers’ skills’ acquisition and retention. Absence creates feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression.

Toward overcoming those challenges, Vodec creatively offered virtual services and activities. Who knew, for example, virtual dances could be the hit they’ve been? But if you are a consumer who has been sheltering at home and would like to return for in-person services, please contact us.

Absence also has fiscal impact on Vodec. When a consumer does not access authorized services, Vodec does not receive payment it otherwise would. From March to June 2020, day programs – including Vodec’s – weren’t allowed to operate in Iowa per a proclamation by Iowa’s governor. There still has not been a full recovery to the level of participation prior to the pandemic’s first impact in March 2020.

There’s also a challenge with the workforce. No doubt you know there isn’t a business that hasn’t been adversely impacted in its ability to attract and retain employees as a result of the COVID pandemic. Vodec has not been untouched by this challenge.

Despite a lesser need due to the number of consumers still sheltering at home, we still need to add employees that will enable more consumers to return to service. I ask for your help by making referrals for employment. Certainly, you know someone who’s been displaced or is interested in rejoining the labor force. Direct them to Vodec, please.

If you have a question about our COVID responses, please reach out to us at 712.328.2638. We will continue to do everything in our power to make sure health and safety stays a highest priority.

Resources will continue to be available on site. Employees will remain vigilant about required protocols. Cooperation from all guests and visitors will be expected.

Together, we will successfully get through this and thrive.