Volume #21 – Issue #1
CP OF NYS ALBANY LOBBY DAY – MARCH 2 – SAVE THE DATE
CP of NYS has scheduled Monday, March 2, 2015 as our Albany Lobby Day and we have Room 711A in the Legislative Office Building (LOB) reserved for the day. We will begin to set our budget priorities after we see the Governor’s budget proposal next week as the Budget and State of the State presentations are both now on Wednesday, January 21.
CP of NYS has a block of rooms reserved at the Albany Hilton for Sunday, March 1; the Hilton has parking and a free a shuttle to the Capitol and LOB. Please plan on joining us in Albany on Monday, March 2 to urge the Legislature and the Governor to provide adequate funding for supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
STATE OF THE STATE AND GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PRESENTATIONS NOW 1-21-15
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late Monday, January 12, that his 2015-16 Executive Budget will be released and presented along with his State of the State address on January 21. The Governor is calling the presentations and budget the 2015 New York State of Opportunity Agenda. The budget is apparently being presented at the same time as the State of the State to expedite the legislative budget hearings process to give both the Executive Chamber and the Legislature more time to negotiate a deal before the March 31 budget deadline.
It has been a priority for the Governor to have an on-time budget. Governor Cuomo’s State of the State was changed from the original January 7 date following the death of his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo.
CP OF NYS LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR REQUESTING FUNDING FOR SUPPORTS AND SERVICES
CP of NYS, joined by our colleagues at three statewide associations (NYSACRA, NYSRA & SANYS), sent a letter to Governor Cuomo requesting that his Executive Budget proposal provide sufficient funding to meet the unmet needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families as well as to promote the Governor’s OPWDD transformation agenda. The letter was shared with Administration officials and the full New York State Legislature. Additionally, the letter was reviewed in meetings that CP of NYS had this week with various legislative staff and Assemblymember Gunther, who is chair of the Assembly Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee. The letter can be found here:
CONSTANTINO NAMED TO OPWDD PANEL
Susan Constantino, President & CEO of Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State, has been named to a panel of experts by Kerry Delaney, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) (see letter here). The panel will be asked to examine the challenges New York will face in implementing the Transformation Agenda, offering managed care in the system of supports and services for people with developmental disabilities, and ensuring its long-term fiscal sustainability. The panel will also review how OPWDD proposes to offer managed care.
“It is critically important at this point in our transformation that we call together a panel of experts who can provide a combination of expertise and deep passion for our system,” said Acting Commissioner Delaney in an e-mail announcing the panel. “As part of the work of the panel, we will engage people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, advocates and providers before deciding on the recommendations and finalizing an implementation plan.”
DOH and OPWDD are moving ahead with the “2% COLA”, effective at the start of this month for direct support staff (100 & 200 CFR codes) and the additional “2% COLA”, effective April 1, 2015 for direct support and clinical staff (100, 200 & 300 codes). Rates and fees are being revised over the next few weeks by DOH. We will be following up with DOH to make sure that day treatment and clinic rates are also being adjusted accordingly. We are awaiting additional information from OPWDD as to when contract payments will be adjusted.
Every Affiliate must provide attestations, the first of which is due to OPWDD by March 31, 2015 for the January increase in funding and June 30, 2015 for the second increase in funding, that reports how the money was/will be distributed. A further detailed discussion of this occurred on Friday 1/16/15 with all CP of NYS Affiliates. Please contact Jim Moran if you have any questions.
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES NEW APPOINTMENTS
Governor Cuomo announced three waves of appointments to his Administration this week. Among the 25 individuals announced on Tuesday were Dennis Rosen, as the new OMIG, and Howard Zucker, as Commissioner of Health, both of whom require Senate confirmation. Sally Dreslin was also appointed as the new Executive Deputy Commissioner of DOH and Matthew Howard, whom we enjoyed working with as Secretary of the Assembly Ways & Means Committee, will join DOB Director Bob Megna, who it was previously announced will be heading up the Thruway Authority after the 2015-2016 state budget is finished. These 25 appointments were in addition to the 15 appointments announced on Monday and the 18 appointments announced on Sunday.
There is no mention of a new Commissioner for OPWDD in any of the announcements.
The full list of appointments and biographies can be found here.
DISABILITY RIGHTS NY SUES THE JUSTICE CENTER
Disability Rights NY (DRNY), which is a federally mandated protection and advocacy organization for New Yorkers with disabilities, filed suit against the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (Justice Center) for illegally denying DRNY full access to the Justice Center’s records regarding its efforts to adequately protect New Yorkers with disabilities. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York in Albany, NY.
The Justice Center was established by Governor Cuomo to consolidate and provide a uniform system for complaints and investigations of abuse and neglect of vulnerable individuals. DRNY provides federal, rather than state, advocacy, since they are empowered by Congress.
In its suit, Disability Rights NY says they’ve been unable to get complete documentation on cases of abuses and neglect. They cite instances in which records have been delayed or heavily redacted.
Timothy A. Clune, Executive Director of DRNY, said “New York State has a well-documented history of failing to adequately investigate serious allegations of abuse and neglect against people with disabilities. The Justice Center was created to remedy this deplorable situation. It is deeply disturbing that the Justice Center is intentionally obstructing DRNY’s efforts to fulfill our important federal oversight mandate.”
FAMILIES CANNOT BE CAREGIVERS FOREVER CAMPAIGN
In addition to the CP of NYS Albany Lobby day, we urge you to continue to participate in the Families Cannot Be Caregivers Forever advocacy campaign. The Governor has announced that he will release his 2015-2016 budget proposal on January 21. Therefore, everyone needs to reach out to the media, the public and, most importantly, to the Legislature and the Governor. They need to address the exploding crisis faced by families because New York State has effectively stopped developing new supports and services for people with developmental disabilities who are living at home with aging family members.
Mobilize your families, staff and volunteers to send letters to the Governor,
State Senator and Assemblymember by clicking on the icon below!
The above link will allow everyone to edit and send letters directly from the site to the Governor, their Assemblymember and Senator. They can also sign a petition and share their tories. Talking points and other background material are also available and may be helpful to those who want to write their own letters.
- Urge your State Senator and Assemblymember to let the Governor know that it is important to their constituents that additional funding for critically needed residential and day supports and services be included in his 2015-2016 New York State Budget.
- Let Governor Cuomo know that there is an exploding crisis. Many families are desperate for day and/or residential supports and services for their loved ones with developmental disabilities.
- Urge Governor Cuomo to include additional funding for these supports and services!
They must hear from their constituents NOW!
If you attended the Wednesday morning closing session at the CP of NYS Annual Conference in Albany last October, you were treated to an entertaining and heartwarming session conducted by author Rachel Simon. After her presentation, Ms. Simon gave away several copies of her most famous book, “Riding The Bus With My Sister.” Other people in attendance expressed an interest in buying a copy of the book. If you would like to purchase a copy, please send your name, address and phone number to Al Shibley at the Affiliate Services Office in Cohoes.
Rachel Simon’s sister Beth, who has an intellectual disability, spends her days riding the buses in her unnamed Pennsylvania city. The drivers are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. One day, Beth asks Rachel to accompany her on the buses for an entire year. This wise, funny, deeply affecting true story is the chronicle of that remarkable time. Rachel had much to learn in her sister’s extraordinary world. Full of life lessons from which any reader will profit, Riding the Bus with My Sister is “a heartwarming, life-affirming journey through both the present and the past…[that] might just change your life.” (Boston Herald)
JAWONIO RECEIVES VOCATIONAL GRANT FROM NYS
In November, New York State Senator David Carlucci visited Jawonio to announce $100,000 in critical funding he secured for vocational services at the CP of NYS Affiliate headquartered in Rockland County.
The grant will create 10 jobs in the first year. One of the employment opportunities being expanded is Jawonio’s Document Imaging Solutions which provides meticulous cost effective imaging services.
“Jawonio has been a cornerstone in our communities providing critical supports and services to individuals with developmental disabilities and behavioral health for decades,” said Senator Carlucci. “Jawonio’s vocational programs give residents the opportunity to be involved in the community through meaningful employment.”
Jawonio Executive Director/CEO Jill Warner said, “We want to thank Senator Carlucci for providing this necessary funding to make sure we continue to provide high-quality vocational services in our communities. These critical services give residents the advantage they need to gain meaningful employment.”
ELKS CAN NOW TAKE CREDIT CARD DONATIONS
The New York State Elks Major Projects (MP), which supports the CP of NYS Home Service Program with an annual donation of $500,000, is now able to receive donations with credit cards.
The link is on the website nyselks.org. Look for a button – “Donate to MP” – just below the Elks National Foundation (ENF) donation button. Your local Lodge # is required and any donations will be credited to that Lodge.