Marketing Standards for Early Intervention Service Providers Addendum
In December 2006, the New York State Department of Health (Department) issued comprehensive standards regarding marketing materials produced by State-approved Early Intervention (EI) service providers. Marketing Standards for Early Intervention Service Providers was the result of a collaborative effort between Department staff and the Marketing Task Force of the New York State Early Intervention Coordinating Council.
The fundamental objective of these standards is to ensure that primary referral sources (including EI service providers), as defined in 10 NYCRR 69-4.3, adequately inform parents or guardians of children who are either suspected of or at risk for disability about the Early Intervention Program (EIP). The Department's issuance of these standards is not intended to prohibit nor obstruct service providers' marketing, but to ensure that providers convey accurate, appropriate, and unambiguous information to families seeking early intervention services.
The purpose of this addendum is to clarify for providers some of the information that was included in the December 2006 Marketing Standards for Early Intervention Service Providers.
Questions & Answers
1. Are EI providers restricted from including contact information in their marketing materials?
A. Article 9.3 of the standards specifies that marketing and advertising materials must not include "any contact information, except that of the appropriate municipal agency responsible for local administration of the EIP, when the purpose of the materials is to refer potentially eligible children or to provide information about obtaining EIP services." This is not meant to prohibit service providers from including contact information in their marketing materials. However, Article 9.3 does restrict the contact information that can be provided regarding the EI referral process and obtaining EI services. For example, service providers may include in their marketing materials general contact information about the service provider so that parents or guardians may obtain information about the services that they provide. However, if the marketing materials discuss referral of the child to the EIP, or provide information about how to obtain EIP services, the contact information for these purposes must only be that of the appropriate municipal agency and it must be located next to the information on EIP services. Both telephone numbers may appear in the marketing materials, but there needs to be a distinct separation between the provider's general contact information and municipal contact information in relation to the EIP referral process and obtaining services under the EIP.
2. How can all of the required information listed in Article 1 (1.1-1.9) of the standards be included on marketing materials?
A. The following is a suggested summary of Article 1 requirements that could be used in marketing materials, including but not limited to printed materials, multimedia, Web sites, advertisements, or signage.
- The Early Intervention Program (EIP) is a public program for children under the age of three who are either suspected of having or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. Potentially eligible children must be referred to the county program (Xxxxxxx County, phone number) to receive EIP services. EIP is funded by New York State and county governments. All EIP services are provided at no cost to parents. Health insurance may be used for approved services. A child's eligibility for the program can be determined only by state-approved evaluators under contract, and all services must be authorized by the county.
For providers who contract with multiple counties, it is permissible to list the Growing Up Healthy Hotline telephone number (1-800-522-5006) instead of listing all of the county program contact numbers.
3. Is the same information required on Early Intervention promotional materials (e.g., pens, calendars, clipboards, or stress balls) that are disseminated to the public?
Small Early Intervention promotional items (e.g., pens, stress balls, etc.) that cannot contain the information required in Articles 1.1-1.9 because of their size must include, at a minimum, the name and telephone number of the municipal agency that children must be referred to in order to access EIP services or include the Growing Up Healthy Hotline telephone number (1-800-522-5006). All other Early Intervention promotional items (e.g., calendars, clipboards, etc.) must comply with the standards, specifically inclusion of the information listed in Articles 1.1-1.9 (see above).
4. Can providers furnish information to families when they are initially contacted to obtain EIP information?
Providers may provide a general explanation of the services available under the EIP. However, providers must comply with Articles 1.3 and 1.8 of the standards and inform parents and guardians of the following:
- All children must be referred to the municipality to access EI services
- The municipality will arrange for service providers to deliver services authorized by the municipality when the individual needs of the child and family are determined.
5. Does the Department have materials that providers may disseminate to those seeking EIP information?
The Department's Bureau of Early Intervention has issued two publications that are free of charge in New York State: Early Help Makes a Difference! and The Early Intervention Program: A Parent's Guide .
An order form for these and other EI publications is available at www.health.ny.gov/forms/order_forms/eip_publications.pdf.
6. Does signage on buildings or other signage have to comply with these standards?
Signage identifying a service provider's place of business is not required to comply with these standards. However, signage that is primarily intended as marketing for services delivered under the EIP (public transportation posters, billboards, other advertising) must comply with the marketing standards.
7. When service providers, upon request from early intervention professionals (e.g., service coordinators), furnish information about their services, is it considered marketing?
A. No. Information about an EI provider's services rendered to other EI professionals upon their request is not considered marketing if it is given solely to assist families whose children have already been referred to the EIP. However, such information would be considered marketing if an EI provider proactively furnishes information to other EI professionals who have not requested it.
8. Can service providers assist families in obtaining information about the EIP if a municipality has not responded in a timely manner?
A. If there are concerns that a municipality has not responded in a timely manner to a referral or request for other information about the EIP, providers should request assistance from the Bureau of Early Intervention by calling (518) 473-7016.
9. How will the Department monitor compliance with these standards?
The Department will review marketing materials to ensure that information therein is in accordance with the standards. All service providers' marketing materials must be made available at any time for inspection by the Department. The review may take place as part of reapproval as an EI service provider or as part of an on-site monitoring visit. The Department may refer providers with marketing materials that appear to be false or deceptive to the New York State Office of the Attorney General.