7/22/14 CP News

Volume #20 – Issue #8


CP of NYS followed more than 700 bills this session that were of interest to individuals with developmental disabilities, families, staff and Affiliates.  The bills were mostly in the areas of Developmental Disability/Mental Hygiene, Health, Medicaid and Education/Special Education, but we also follow bills that will impact individuals and Affiliates that fall under insurance law, business law, executive law and many other areas.  A number of bills of importance to people with disabilities and their families passed both Houses of the New York State Legislature this Session and are awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature. CP of NYS supported and advocated for passage of six important bills and was largely responsible for the passage of one piece of legislation that will require New York State managed care entities, which will include supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, such as residential, day and employment services, to partner with public or non-profit entities that have experience providing these supports and services under OPWDD.

For more on the NYS Legislative Session, click 2014 Session Report.

Barbara Crosier


Julie Bissell, of Aspire of WNY, has been chosen the winner of the 10th Annual Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State Visions of New York Consumer Art Contest.  Her original artwork will be the centerpiece of the commemorative poster featuring original creations from 19 CP of NYS Affiliates from across the state. The poster is scheduled to be printed next month and each Affiliate will receive 4 copies of the poster.

Ms. Bissell and a guest will be invited to attend the CP of NYS Annual Conference in Albany in October to be recognized at our Annual Awards Dinner as the CP of NYS Artist of the Year. She will be presented with a plaque and a framed copy of the poster. First runner-up in the 2014 contest was Kristen Smith, of Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country and the second runner-up was Christian Carpenter, from Cerebral Palsy of Westchester.

Al Shibley


LEED pic

Susan Constantino, President & CEO of CP of NYS, unveiled a plaque at the West Farms Center and Metro Community Health Centers in the Bronx on Thursday, June 19 recognizing the facility’s designation as a Gold LEED Building by the United States Green Buildings Council (USGBC).

“We are very proud of this recognition as a Gold LEED facility,” said Ms. Constantino.  “But what is more important is what this facility has come to mean to the people who utilize it, and to those living in the surrounding community. Because of the efforts of so many of our staff and others who helped make this project a reality, we are able to provide critical health care and other supports and services to hundreds of people who previously had to travel out of the area.”

In addition to being an eco-friendly structure, the design is expected to save up to 30% in energy costs.

Al Shibley


The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has prepared and released guidance on the implementation of the direct support professionals code of ethics and the key dates for implementation and their Division of Quality Improvement’s (DQI) plan to incorporate these deadlines in their reviews/audits:

  • July 1, 2014: implement the practice of the NADSP Code of Ethics and the NYS DSP Core Competencies;
  • April 1, 2016: begin using the NYS DSP Performance Evaluations as the evaluation tools for DSPs;
  • March 31, 2017: complete NYS DSP Performance Evaluations for DSPs according to the provider’s written promulgated policy (e.g., some providers complete annual evaluations during a certain month of the year; other providers complete annual evaluations on each employee’s anniversary date of hire; similarly, employee probation may be defined as three months or six months). A policy or practice of no written evaluations or untimely written evaluations is unacceptable.
  • April 1, 2017: OPWDD’s Division of Quality Improvement will begin verifying the implementation of the NADSP Code of Ethics, the NYS DSP Core Competencies and the NYS DSP Performance Evaluations according to protocols they will develop on or after October 2016.

If you have any questions, please call our Affiliate Services office at (518) 436-0178.

Click on the link below to see the new ADMINISTRATIVE MEMORANDUM #2014-03.

Al Shibley


DRNY is the federally and state-authorized Protection and Advocacy (P & A) System and Client Assistance Program for people with disabilities in New York State.  DRNY provides legal and other advocacy services to advance and protect the rights of people with disabilities and to ensure that they are free from abuse and neglect and unlawful discrimination.  As such, DRNY is required to create subject matter priorities, on an annual basis, for its programs and to solicit comments and suggestions about those priorities from people with disabilities and others throughout the state.  Once finalized, these priorities will represent DRNY’s focus for advocacy efforts and resources on behalf of people with disabilities during the next fiscal year.

Here is a link (PADD Priorities FY 2015) to DRNY’s Proposed Priorities for its Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities program for the period October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015.  Comments and suggestions on DRNY’s Proposed Priorities can be emailed to:

Barbara Crosier


Included in OPWDD’s discussions with the federal government to transform supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, is the commitment to increase the number of individuals in competitive employment.  A key component to fulfilling that commitment was the creation of OPWDD’s new Pathways to Employment services which is supposed to serve as a bridge between pre-employment and competitive employment. The new Pathways to Employmentemergency regulations were effective July 1, 2014.  (link to be added)

Highlights of the regulations and implementation include:

  • Trainings – the first three trainings were in June (NYC, Albany & Buffalo) and 32 providers were trained.  OPWDD has sent out a training schedule for the rest of 2014 and hopes to have more than 800 staff trained by the end of the year.
  • Pathways ADM is still in draft form but should be finalized by the end of this month.
  • The DDROs are creating program codes in TABS so they know who to enroll in services.
  • EMEDNY codes will be uploaded by the end of July but providers won’t be able to bill until sometime in August.
  • Transportation was added as an allowable direct service so that transporting to and from community services can be billed for the time.
  • ACCES-VR is supposed to be identifying Pathways liaisons to receive reports and provide feedback.
  • Pathways is designed for twelve months and, after that, one can go to Access VR or SEMP.
  • No one can be forced to change a service; therefore there needs to be a dialogue with individuals and families about transitioning.

Barbara Crosier


The Alliance of Long Island Agencies, CP of NYS, IAC and NYSARC are hosting an event on Tuesday, August 12 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Hilton Hotel, 598 Broad Hollow Road in Melville honoring Assemblymember Harvey Weisenberg, who has announced he will be retiring at the end of his current Assembly term on December 31, 2014.

During his 25 year legislative career, Harvey Weisenberg has been a staunch advocate for people with disabilities. He has been dedicated to removing barriers, improving services, and enhancing the quality of life for all people with physical and mental disabilities. During the 2013-14 Legislative Session, he led the effort to restore $90 million in proposed cuts to the field of developmental disabilities. During the 2014-15 Legislative Session, he led the successful effort to secure a salary increase for the Direct Support Professionals and other dedicated staff who care for individuals with developmental disabilities and other vulnerable people.

The event will bring together voluntary agency senior staff, direct service professionals, individuals with developmental disabilities and family members to thank Harvey for his years of service.

For more information or to register, please contact Kelli Housley at Registrations are due no later than Monday, August 4th.

Al Shibley


The DDAWNY Family Advocacy is hoping that everyone across New York State will join them in a GO VOTE CAMPAIGN in preparation for the November election.  All New York State Senators, Assemblymembers, the Comptroller, Attorney General and the Governor are up for election in November.  It is a critical year because of this and many other reasons.

They plan to execute the GO VOTE CAMPAIGN in two phases:

  • Phase One – Voter Registration – Engage individuals with developmental disabilities, families, staff, volunteers, friends, etc., and encourage/assist them to register to VOTE. Including:
  • Phase Two – GET OUT AND VOTE – Be informed and understand the candidates’ position on our issues.  Let our legislators know we are organized and educated about who supports us and that we will be actively engaged in supporting them with our VOTES and our discussions.

Most importantly, DO SOMETHING to get people involved!

Exercise Your Right To Vote

Voting for People with Disabilities

IDAC – Election 2014

Barbara Crosier


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York announced on July 18, 2014 that they are withdrawing from the Medicaid Managed Care Program this fall. Approximately 53,000 Medicaid recipients in Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Orleans, Wyoming and Allegany counties will have to move to another insurance provider by October 31. Blue Cross Blue Shield had terminated its Medicaid Managed Care Program in Niagara and Genesee counties last year and its programs in northeastern New York seven years ago.  Excellus Blue Cross in Central New York also terminated its Medicaid Managed Care Program several years ago.

Blue Cross Blue Shield said that it had lost more than $40 million over the past three years in these programs.  Blue Cross has lost so much money on Medicaid managed care for mainstream managed care patients when the state is pushing to fold individuals with developmental disabilities and all the OPWDD supports and services into Medicaid managed care.  Individuals with developmental disabilities tend to require more expensive health care services and there are no savings or efficiencies to be found on the OPWDD supports and services other than reducing or limiting services.  If an insurer like Blue Cross is losing so much on mainstream Medicaid managed care lines of business, it is unimaginable that any insurer will be able to cover the complex and expensive medical and long term care supports and services required by individuals with developmental disabilities.

The loss of Blue Cross Blue Shield must sound the alarm like the loss of the canary in the coal mine, that supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities cannot and should not be forced into the Medicaid Managed Care Program.

Barbara Crosier


Taryn Mackenzie Williams was appointed by President Barack Obama as an associate director in the White House’s Office of Public Engagement.  Ms. Williams, who started the position on July 14, 2014, will serve as a liaison between the disability community and the President.  Williams will be “on loan” from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy where she works as a senior policy adviser.

Ms. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy with a concentration in education from Brown University.  She holds a master’s degree in Education from Harvard University.  She participated in the Education Policy Fellowship Program at IEL in 2006-2007.  In 2012-2013, she was placed at the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP).  At HELP, she researched and contributed to the staff report on the ADA Generation.

Barbara Crosier

UNITED HOSPITAL FUND REPORT – New York’s Medicaid in Transition: A New Primer for 2014

United Hospital Fund recently released a report, New York’s Medicaid in Transition: A New Primer for 2014, written by Elizabeth Patchias and Sarah Samis. The report provides an overview and examines the growth of existing managed care arrangements and the development of new forms of managed care.  The report has three sections:  Section I, Medicaid in the Context of Federal and State Reform, focusing on the changes related to the Federal Affordable Care Act and the State’s Medicaid Redesign Team – particularly as they relate to eligibility, benefits, financing, and administration;  Section II, Medicaid Service Use, Spending and Enrollment, looks at Medicaid spending and enrollment in 2013, with additional analysis of four-year trends;  Section III, Transforming Medicaid in New York, looks at the complex reforms underway and planned, including the DOH recently approved 1115 waiver, HARPS, FIDAs and DISCOs.  This section presents DISCOs as the only option for individuals with developmental disabilities and does not include the most recent State plans to enroll individuals with developmental disabilities in MLTCs and typical managed care plans.

The report looks at how New York is moving into managed care for those populations that were formerly exempt from mandatory enrollment, as well as the new inclusion of specific services into the managed care benefits.  The report examines the continued implementation of the State’s principle of “care management for all,” including the development of specialized managed care plans and the creation of integrated delivery systems,  through new resources associated with the new Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program.

Here is a link to the full report New York’s Medicaid in Transition.

Barbara Crosier