The Department of Health and Social Services announced that all walk-in access to its public offices will end as of April 6 because of the potential risk for clients and DHSS employees in having in-person interactions.
Client needs will now be met in person by appointment only, or through phone, email or online interactions, except for crisis services, emergency cases or for people without phone or computer access.
“To keep both our clients and our employees safe, this is the right move for our department and for the clients we are committed to serving every day,” said DHSS Secretary Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “With widespread community transmission in Delaware, it is a public health risk to have our usual in-person interaction. Our offices will have signs on the doors to explain how staff can be reached if clients have an emergency, or for those who don’t have immediate access to a phone or computer.”
Outreach efforts across DHSS, such as the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health’s Mobile Crisis Services, the Division of Social Services’ Community Partner Support Unit and the Office of Animal Welfare’s animal control services are continuing. Appointments through DSAMH already scheduled are still expected to occur through telehealth or in person as needed. Admissions and discharges to DHSS’ 24/7 facilities also will continue as needed.
To screen or apply for many DHSS services, Delawareans are encouraged to use DHSS’ online portal, ASSIST, at assist.dhss.delaware.gov. Seniors and individuals with disabilities can also visit the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource’s website at delawareadrc.com or call 800-223-9074.
For other services, by division, here is how clients and potential clients can make inquiries:
— Division of Social Services, including Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, General Assistance and Purchase of Care subsidized child care. To screen for and apply for benefits, visit assist.dhss.delaware.gov, call 866-843-7212 or a local office State Service Center. For customer service on issues with existing benefits, call 866-843-7212. To make an appointment, call a local State Service Center.
— Division of Child Support Services: For customer service or to make an appointment, call 577-7171. For more, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dcss.
— Division of State Service Centers: To screen for and apply for benefits, visit assist.dhss.delaware.gov or call a local State Service Center. To make an appointment call a local State Service Center.
— Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance: To screen for and apply for benefits, visit assist.dhss.delaware.gov or dhss.delaware.gov; or call 800-372-2022 to make an appointment. Contact the health benefit manager at 800-996-9969. For managed care member service, Highmark Health Options, 844-325-6251, or AmeriHealth Caritas Delaware, 844-211-0966. For long term care Medicaid, apply using at dhss.delaware.gov or call 866-940-8963.
— Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health: Crisis, emotional support and services services; for appointments visit helpisherede.com or call 800-652-2929. For customer service on issues with existing services call 855-649-7944; for admissions and payments, call 255-9458.
— Division of Developmental Disabilities Services: To apply for services or to make an appointment, call 744-9700 or 866-552-5758, option 2; for eligibility appeals, call 744-9628; for customer service and issues with existing benefits, call individual case manager.
— Division for Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities: For questions, referrals and access to existing case managers, contact the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center at delawareadrc.com or 800-223-9074.
— Division of Public Health, Women, Infants, and Children: WIC, immunizations, HIV/AIDS, TB, Health Care Connection, Office of Animal Welfare, etc. To apply for or seek services, call a local Division of Public Health office; to make an appointment, call a local Division of Public Health office; for the Office of Animal Welfare’s Delaware Animal Services, animal-related concerns, call 255-4646.
— Division for the Visually Impaired: To apply for services, make an appointment or reach customer service, call 255-9800 or an individual case manager
— Division of Health Care Quality: Office of Health Facilities, hotline, 800-942-7373; office, 292-3931; Office of Long-Term Care Residents Protection, hotline 877-453-0012; background check center, 421-7405; CNA Registry, 421-7403. Division of Health Care Quality Customer Service, 421-7400.
— DHSS Constituent Relations: For trouble reaching any division or issues with benefits or services being delayed or denied, email firstname.lastname@example.org.