Seven of New York’s largest non-profit associations representing providers of service supporting New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) have joined forces as New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) to launch a statewide campaign to advocate for quality care and support for New Yorkers with I/DD. The coalition represents more than 300 voluntary organizations instrumental in delivering vital services and supports to 140,000 New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). NYDA is joining forces with advocates from across the behavioral health and human services sector to educate elected officials, stakeholders and residents about the dire need for increased funding to stabilize non-profit provider organizations.
Across the state, hundreds of organizations provide lifelong, comprehensive, individualized services to support people with developmental disabilities in all areas of their lives. In addition to delivering physical and behavioral health services, they assist with transportation, housing, medication administration, cooking, feeding, and developing personal care, community living, employment, and money management skills.
New York State relies on the voluntary sector to provide these vital services to citizens with I/DD, but after years of chronic underfunding, this system of care is in jeopardy.
“For years, New York has neglected to give its voluntary non-profit provider organizations a cost of living increase, marginalizing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and creating barriers to adequate care,” said Yvette Watts, Executive Director of New York Association of Emerging and Multicultural Providers. “Correcting this funding inequity is critical to ensuring New Yorkers with I/DD are given the opportunity to participate in their communities and receive reasonable access to care and essential supports.”
Over 90% of funding for provider organizations comes from Medicaid. Each year, New York State determines the levels of funding those organizations receive to deliver critical services. Yet in the last decade, despite rising costs, voluntary providers have received only one cost of living increase of 0.2% and have missed out on nearly $8 billion in funding, including $2.6 billion in cuts.
NYDA is asking for an annual 3% increase in funding for the next 5 years to correct the shortage, stabilize the system, and ensure New Yorkers with I/DD have access to quality care and the opportunity to live integrated and productive lives.
“New York has a reputation for offering exceptional, comprehensive individualized services and programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Susan Constantino, President and CEO of Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State. “However, non-profit providers need predictable resources to invest in their workforce, technology and infrastructure. This investment is necessary for New York to sustain its reputation for quality and fulfill its responsibility to provide care and support for people with I/DD.”
“We must provide adequate funding to provide all New Yorkers equal access to care and supports, so people with I/DD aren’t just surviving but living full and meaningful lives,” said Rhonda Frederick, President of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York.
The funding shortfall for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities is one that affects all New Yorkers. Provider organizations are sizeable employers, serving as economic engines that spur increased business activity in the communities they serve. Provider organizations are often one of the largest employers in their region. Underfunding not only harms New Yorkers in need of these critical services, it can harm local economies by forcing facility closures and job losses.
About New York Disability Advocates
New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) is a statewide coalition of seven non-profit provider agencies encompassing more than 300 non-profit organizations providing vital services and support to more than 140,000 New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Yvette Watts has been the Executive Director of New York Association of Emerging and Multicultural Providers for 10 years. NYAEMP is a consortium of 40 agencies supporting 12,000 people.
Susan Constantino has been President and CEO of Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State since 2004. She is responsible for the programs and services operated by CP of NYS in New York City as well as the State Association in Cohoes, which offers technical assistance and support to 24 Affiliates throughout the state.
Rhonda Frederick is President and CEO of People Inc. and of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY), an organization that fosters collaboration among agencies who support people with developmental disabilities and gives them a single voice in Albany.