Volume #21 – Issue #3
NYS BUDGET UPDATE
The New York State Legislature passed the final 2015-2016 State Budget bills late in the evening of March 31, just before the April 1 deadline, with the Senate adjourning before midnight and the Assembly adjourning after midnight. Because the Assembly had not adjourned, the budget bill was considered to be passed on March 31 and on time. This stopping the clock provides a clear indication of the importance that Governor Cuomo and Legislative Leaders put on having an “on-time” budget for the fifth year in a row. The bills that were not voted on until late in the evening were printed only hours before with the Education Reform and Ethics Reform bills among the last to be finished.
There have been a number of surprises in the Final Budget, among them is the elimination of the sales tax on yachts over $230,000 and small planes (under 20 passengers).
The $142 billion New York State Budget agreement includes spending in the following categories:
- Total State Operating Funds: $94.25 billion; 2.0% growth
- Public School Aid: $23.5 billion; 6.1% growth
- Medicaid: $17.741 billion; 4.6% growth
- $5.4 billion in financial settlement funds for: $1.5 billion for the Upstate Revitalization Initiative and $500 million for statewide broadband.
While all these programs received substantial funding increases, programs, supports and services for people with developmental disabilities received minimal to no increase.
CP OF NYS WORKING TO CREATE STATEWIDE FAMILY ADVOCACY GROUP
CP of NYS recently conducted advocacy meetings at Jawonio in New City and Franziska Racker Centers in Ithaca designed to provide information on issues important to people with disabilities and their families. Our prime audience consisted of family members and staff from area Affiliates and other nonprofit agencies.
The groups discussed CP of NYS legislative priorities and were provided with training on messaging and how to present information to legislators and members of the media. There was also an overview of how state government works. A major focus was to listen to and speak with family members about on-going advocacy to get a feel for their reaction to our effort to create a statewide family advocacy group.
One recurring theme from both audiences was a feeling of frustration at the lack of a family organization to keep family members informed and to organize them for letter writing campaigns and other advocacy efforts. Many said they would like to receive more frequent and timely information about how best to access services, navigate the system and policy issues and a plan for on-going advocacy and education.
Audience members also requested that they receive prioritized advocacy and policy information in plain language. They said that families want to be more involved in advocacy and would like to be connected with other family groups around the state.
CP of NYS will conduct additional regional meetings for families and staff and will begin to send information to those interested in receiving regular updates on issues via e-mail. Information will also continue to be posted on the CP of NYS website (www.cpofnys.org), as well as on our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cerebralpalsyofnys) and twitter account (https://twitter.com/cpofnys).
The goal of the statewide advocacy group is to gather and share information that families can use to ensure access to services, educate politicians, the media and the general public about issues leading to change, and improved opportunities for people with disabilities and their families.
SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST MEDICAID PROVIDERS
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments that providers of rehabilitation services should have the right to bring private suits against individual States for adequate Medicaid rates and compensation. The March 31 Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc. (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-15_d1oe.pdf), overturns a previous ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The majority opinion was delivered by Justice Scalia and joined by Justices Thomas, Breyer, Alito and Roberts. Justices Sotomayor, Kennedy, Ginsburg and Kagan dissented.
The majority decided that disability service providers do not have standing to hold States accountable for inadequate Medicaid reimbursements under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which allows that federal law generally takes precedence over state law. Medicaid is a federal program administered by the States. Yesterday’s opinion stated that Congress can determine enforcement actions against States, but there is no provision in the Medicaid Act that allows for private action. Currently, federal law allows the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to withhold funding from States for violations of Medicaid.
While the court case narrowly focused on the constitutionality of bringing suit against a State for how it administers a federal program, the core issue is the availability of care for people with disabilities and the impact on individuals with disabilities and their families when that access is threatened. This ruling may become a barrier to community services for people with disabilities as service providers seem barred from enforcing State Medicaid compliance. The outcome of this case has the potential to directly impact disability service provision in many States.
METRO COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
Metro Community Health Centers (MCHC) has recently rolled out a new website (http://www.mchcnyc.org) to increase visibility in the communities served by their four New York City locations. The site lists hours of operation and the services offered at each location. MCHC provides high quality, well-coordinated, primary and specialty medical, dental, behavioral, rehabilitation as well as ancillary health services. Their focus is on patients who are underserved, with a special commitment to the needs of people with disabilities.
“We are very excited about the new website and its potential to reach more people in the community who need the quality healthcare services we provide.,” said Marco Damiani, MCHC’s CEO. “Over time we plan to add video testimonials, health education materials and resources and provider profiles.”
The lead story on the new site’s Home Page announces that Metro Community Health Centers has received a $1.9 million grant from New York State to provide state-of-the-art Health Information Technology to 10 heath centers and 3 long-term support service providers for people with developmental disabilities. For more information about the grant and MCHC, visit their website at http://www.mchcnyc.org.
ASPIRE CEO THOMAS SY NAMED TO BUSINESS FIRST POWER 250
For the second year in a row, Aspire of WNY’s CEO, Thomas A. Sy, has been named to the prestigious Business First Power 250 list. Buffalo’s Business First list recognizes men and women in Western New York who are considered to be the most influential. The voting group considers a number of factors in coming up with the list, including number of employees and length of time in a position. They also take into account the amount of respect a person garners both within their company and in the community. Mr. Sy made the ranking at No. 224 and credited Aspire for the honor.
“While it feels very rewarding to receive the individual recognition of the Power 250,” said Mr. Sy, “much more important is the fact that being on the list shines a light on all the great work the agency is doing.”
CAPITAL DISTRICT DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER CLOSED MARCH 31, 2015
The Capital District Developmental Center, which was originally called the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, closed on Tuesday as part of New York State’s downsizing plan for individuals with developmental disabilities. The developmental center was originally named after the State’s longest serving Assembly Speaker, who was a Schenectady native, where it is located. This was the 17th state developmental center to be closed and former residents live in smaller local state operated or voluntary community based residences.
According to the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, the other planned closures are: Brooklyn Developmental Center, in Brooklyn, is to close by December 31, 2015; Broome Developmental Center in Binghamton is to close by March 31, 2016; Bernard M. Fineson Developmental Center, Queens, is scheduled to close by March 31, 2017.
The two developmental centers that will remain open are Sunmount, in Tupper Lake, and Valley Ridge, in Norwich.
2015 CORPORATE COMPLIANCE CONFERENCE
The 8th Annual Corporate Compliance Conference – Quality & Compliance Challenges 2015 – presented by CP of NYS and NYSARC, Inc., will be held on May 12 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Troy, NY. Topics will include an overview of OMIG audit priorities, compliance threats presented by social media, incident management post Justice Center and ER admission reduction in a medically frail population/clinic compliance issues. Compliance and quality professionals, as well as administrators, are encouraged to attend this day long conference. More details are included in the Registration Brochurehere.
Click HERE to register.
SAVE THE DATE – ANNUAL CONFERENCE
SAVE THE DATE
Saratoga Hilton, Saratoga Springs, NY
Watch our website for details – www.cpofnys.org