Volume #21 – Issue #5
MINIMUM WAGE UPDATE
CP of NYS has been working on the minimum wage issue and Governor Cuomo’s establishment of a Wage Board to recommend an increased minimum wage for food service industry workers. We worked with the Legislature on a bill and are urging the Wage Board to 1) take into consideration the impact a minimum wage increase for one sector has on other sectors, and 2) include us in any minimum wage increase recommendations they may submit to the Governor.
Additionally, Susan Constantino, President & CEO of CP of NYS, joined Steve Kroll, Executive Director at NYSARC, onCapital Tonight on Monday, June 22, 2015 to discuss increasing the minimum wage for human service workers. In the interview, Susan Constantino emphasized that: we support an increase for all workers; New York State has to make a commitment to increasing the minimum wage and reimbursement for hard working New Yorkers who support our most vulnerable citizens; and, our employees deserve a living wage as much as food service workers. Watch the Capital Tonight show with Susan Constantino and Steve Kroll here.
In addition, the Wage Board held hearings in Buffalo, New York City, Long Island, and Albany on the increase for food service workers. We encourage all Affiliates to provide written testimony to the Wage Board.
Testimony must be received by the Wage Board by June 26, 2015. They state that written testimony is highly encouraged and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to:
New York State Department of Labor
ATTN: Wage Board
Bldg. 12, Room 586
Harriman State Office Campus
Albany, NY 12240
Please do not hesitate to contact Mike Alvaro or Barbara Crosier at the Affiliate Services Office with any questions.
DSP SALARY SURVEY DUE BY JULY 10
As noted above, CP of NYS has been spending considerable time to ensure our employees are included in any minimum wage increase that NYS will fund. As part of this effort, we are working with NYSACRA, NYSRA, and NYSARC to develop strategies that will be used to advocate on behalf of the DSP workforces.
In order to effectively make our case to the Governor and the New York State Legislature, the associations will collect information from our members through a survey that includes information about DSP wages, turnover, vacancies, and overtime. All the associations have distributed the same online survey link to their members. We are asking CP of NYS Affiliates to participate in the survey. In order to assure accuracy, it is important for Affiliates that belong to more than one association to respond to only one survey. It is also important that each Affiliate sends only one survey for their entire organization.
The data compiled from the survey will be used for advocacy and will not include any agency names or other identifying information.
We ask that each Affiliate completes only one survey by July 10, 2015. Please have your Affiliate participate in this important survey at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CNRTMXP.
CP OF NYS TO HOST MSC UPDATE FROM OPWDD AUGUST 5 IN COHOES
On Wednesday, August 5, Anne Swartout and Angie Francis from OPWDD’s service coordination division will be at the CP of NYS Affiliate Services Office in Cohoes to present the latest on the Medicaid Service Coordination (MSC) program with specific emphasis on Personal Outcome Measures (POM), the future of MSC, and how MSC works under some of the community integration activities/programs that OPWDD is emphasizing.
The meeting will be held from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Please mark your calendar and plan to join the speakers at this important information session on August 5 in Cohoes.
Please forward any questions you want answered or topics you want addressed to Mike Alvaro at email@example.com as soon as possible so that they can be sent to OPWDD to assist them as they prepare for the meeting.
For more information, please call our Affiliate Services Office at (518) 436-0178.
DOH WIC GRANTS
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has announced the availability of funding to authorize and oversee vendors (retail food stores and pharmacies) who are responsible for the delivery of nutritious foods prescribed to women, infants, and children participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Applications are being sought from agencies to manage the retail food delivery system and WIC vendor management services as Vendor Management Agencies (VMAs).
Complete details on the program can be found here.
2015 NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATIVE SESSION WINDS DOWN
The New York State 2015 Legislative Session was scheduled to end on June 17. Because of the indictments of the Assembly Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader, who have both been replaced, and nervousness that any end of Session horse trading could be interpreted as “pay to play,” the Legislature was unable to come to agreement on a number of high profile issues including New York City rent control laws and 421-A property tax abatement, tax credits for parents whose children go to private or parochial schools, an extension of the 2% tax cap, as well as a few others. Senator DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that the indictments were hindering end of Session deal making. As of this writing, the Legislature is finalizing an agreement on outstanding issues but CP of NYS has been successful in getting most of our priority bills passed and none of the bills that will have a negative impact, or “bad” bills, have passed both Houses. Below are a few of the CP of NYS priority bills and their current status:
Bills Supported by CP of NYS that Passed Both Houses:
- Repeal of MRT #26 Cut for Article 16 Clinics – S.4974 (Ortt)/A.7327 (Gunther) – CP of NYS strongly supports this bill which would repeal the cut to Article 16 clinics that serve patients who require more than the average number of therapies. This current cut clearly discriminates against individuals with developmental disabilities, is a violation of Olmstead, the ADA, and individuals’ civil rights. This bill has passed both the Senate and the Assembly and will be sent to the Governor; we are hopeful that he will sign it.
- School Psychologists in 4410s and Early Intervention – S.5445 (LaValle)/A.5325 (Glick) – CP of NYS strongly supports this bill and worked with the sponsors to authorize school psychologists to provide evaluations and services for preschool special education (4410) and Early Intervention children. This bill has passed both the Senate and the Assembly and will be sent to the Governor, who is expected to sign it.
- DD Managed Care Supports by Nonprofit Providers – S.3638-A (Ortt)A.7200 (Gunther) – CP of NYS strongly supports this bill which would require managed care entities to only contract with nonprofit providers of OPWDD long term care supports and services. This bill has passed both the Senate and the Assembly and will be sent to the Governor, who is expected to sign it.
- ABLE Act Implementation – S.4472-A (Carlucci) and A.6516 (Gunther) – CP of NYS strongly supports this bill, which will provide state authorization to establish the New York State Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. The bill is similar to a 529 college savings account but is for expenses of individuals who were diagnosed with a disability prior to the age of 26. This bill has passed both the Senate and the Assembly and will be sent to the Governor, who is expected to sign it.
- CDPAP Family Caregiver – S.5712-A (Felder)/A.7532-A (Morelle) amends the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) to provide that a compensated personal assistant may include family members of the CDPAP individual with the exception of a person legally responsible for an eligible individual’s care and support, an eligible individual’s spouse, or a designated representative. CP of NYS strongly supports this bill and is hopeful that the Governor will sign it.
- Early Intervention Data – S.5497 (Serino)/A.7554 (Jaffee) directs the Commissioner of Health to collect data on the Early Intervention program to ensure that information is publically available for the purposes of improving the efficiency, cost effectiveness, and quality and access to services. CP of NYS strongly supports this bill and is hopeful that the Governor will sign it.
Bills Supported by CP of NYS that Did Not Pass Both Houses:
- Minimum Wage Increase and Reimbursement – S.5838 (Ortt)/A.8143 (Gunther) – Both Senator Ortt and Assemblymember Gunther have introduced legislation, at the request of CP of NYS, to amend the Labor Law to require that, in the event the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Labor orders an increase in the minimum wage for a certain industry, the Commissioner must also recommend a necessary adjustment to State reimbursement rates paid to State funded Human Services providers to enable them to manage resulting recruitment and retention issues. CP of NYS strongly supports this legislation, and we are working with our colleagues on a multi-faceted approach to address the Governor’s proposal to have the Wage Board recommend a minimum wage increase for the food service industry. We will continue to work with the Legislature to advance this legislation. (See related articles above.)
- Complex Rehab in Managed Care – S.3651-B (Ortt)/A.5074-A (McDonald) preserves current fee-for-service Medicaid guidelines and practices for those who require high cost, individually configured equipment once they are in Medicaid managed care. CP of NYS strongly supports this bill, which is in the Senate Insurance and the Assembly Ways & Means Committees.
- Employment First Choice Act – S.3893-A (Young)/A.5959 (Gunther) would provide individuals with the right to remain in a work center until the State has developed sufficient capacity and supports for them to find employment in the community. CP of NYS strongly supports this bill and was able to get much of this language in the 2015 final budget. This bill is currently in the Assembly Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee and can be voted on in the Senate.
- Delay TBI and NHTD Waiver into Managed Care – S.5535 (Hannon)/A.7598 (Gottfried) would delay the transition of the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) waiver populations into managed care until 2017. CP of NYS strongly supported this bill, which passed the Assembly and is in the Senate Rules Committee. However, the legislation is no longer necessary as the NYS Health Department announced that the transition would be delayed until January 1, 2017 and a stakeholder work group will be convened to discuss and develop recommendations regarding all of the issues involved. The work group is expected to be convened shortly with recommendations to be submitted by August 1, 2016.
Bills Opposed by CP of NYS that Did Not Pass Both Houses:
There are a number of bills that CP of NYS opposed and worked to educate the Legislature and the Governor’s office on their negative impact. These bills include:
- S.5213 (Savino)/A.7437 (Ryan) which would require not-for-profits licensed by OPWDD, OMH or DOH to comply with the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and the Open Meetings Law (OML).
- A.424-A (Abinanti) which creates a Family Bill of Rights, which unfortunately infringes on the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities, is poorly drafted, includes requirements that are impossible to comply with, and enumerates rights that already exist. CP of NYS has spoken with the bill sponsors and legislative staff, and although this bill passed the Assembly, we are confident that it will not pass the Senate.
- S.4542-A (Klein)/A.2553-A (Benedetto) would allow the New York City Planning Commission and Community Boards to prevent the establishment or continued operation of multiple residences or centers operated by the state, the city, or a not-for-profit organization, which provides housing accommodations and support services to ten or more residents, or fifty or more non-resident clients per day who have mental illness, trauma, abuse, chemical dependency and/or chronic illness, and shelters for the homeless, or abused women and children. CP of NYS strongly opposed this bill. The Senate bill passed the Senate and is in the Assembly Cities Committee, which is chaired by Assemblymember Benedetto who is the bill sponsor. The Assembly bill is in Assembly Rules. The Assembly sponsor (Benedetto) announced that the bill would not pass the Assembly and that there was an agreement with New York City to address concerns.
CP of NYS has been tracking many other bills and will provide a full status report as soon as the Legislature adjourns the 2015 session.