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Time Sensitive: eFMAP Workforce Stabilization Initiatives Attestation and Survey

Below is an email that was sent to all providers on Jan. 5:

Providers that wish to participate in the COVID Service and Vaccination Payment Initiatives must complete the applicable surveys.  This email will transmit the initial survey link and provide some background information.

Attestation

Even though this email transmits the link to the initial survey, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) will not review any submitted survey unless the provider has submitted an accepted “OPWDD Workforce Stabilization Initiatives Provider Attestation Form”.  Regardless of survey completion, a completed Attestation must be submitted to OPWDD, no later than January 9, 2022, if a Provider wishes to participate in any Workforce Stabilization Initiatives.  The Attestation is to be submitted to:

opwdd.sm.COVIDattestation@opwdd.ny.gov

COVID-19 Service and Vaccination Incentive Surveys

There will be two surveys that need to be filled out by the Provider. The surveys will ask questions, by OPWDD program, that will allow OPWDD to calculate the proper Supplemental Payment amounts, for each individual Provider, related to the COVID-19 Service and Vaccination Incentives.  The surveys are Alchemer software instruments.

The first, or initial, survey will ask Providers to respond to questions related to the first agency payroll ending on, or after, September 1, 2021.  This survey will provide OPWDD with information necessary to compute COVID-19 Service Supplemental Payments and preliminary information regarding the vaccination status of Direct Support Professional and Family Care Provider employees.

The second survey will ask providers to respond to questions related to the first agency payroll that will end on, or after, January 14, 2022.  This survey will provide OPWDD with information necessary to compute Vaccination Incentive Payments.

You must follow the directions provided in each Survey instrument and additionally, refer to the guidance provided in the December 13, 2021 “OPWDD Workforce Stabilization Initiatives Overview and Provider Attestation Form” document when completing the surveys. Of critical importance is the definition of Direct Support Professionals and Family Care Providers as employees that have, or will be reported, under the job position title code series of 200 (200-299) on the Provider’s Consolidated Fiscal Report for the survey reporting periods.

Excel Summary Sheet

We encourage providers, especially those that operate more than one OPWDD program, to enter the information that will be requested in the surveys in a spreadsheet prior to trying to complete the surveys.   The surveys request information by OPWDD program and a new survey, including the reporting of Agency and contact information, must be completed for every five programs.  For example, an agency that operates 25 OPWDD programs must complete five (5) distinct surveys (five each for the initial and second surveys). The use of a spreadsheet should allow the completion of the survey instrument to proceed more quickly and assure greater accuracy.  Click here for a sample Excel spreadsheet.

Survey Link

The link to the initial survey is:

https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6637340/eFMAP-COVID-19-Service-and-Preliminary-Vaccination-Incentive-Survey

The link to the second survey will be provided under separate cover and closer to the date of January 14, 2022.  As indicated above, that survey will be based on  information related to the first agency payroll that will end on, or after, January 14, 2022.

Survey Completion Date

We have not identified a Survey completion due date though one may be identified in the future.  However, it is in the best interests of your agency, and especially in the interests of the employees that will be distributed the COVID-19 Service and Vaccination Incentive Payments, that the surveys be completed expeditiously.  Failure to do so may result in delayed Supplemental Payments to your Agency.  We reiterate that OPWDD will not review any submitted survey unless the provider has submitted an accepted “OPWDD Workforce Stabilization Initiatives Provider Attestation Form”.  

Questions

Questions regarding the Surveys should be directed to:

COVIDSurvey@opwdd.ny.gov

Hochul announces major investment in I/DD sector

It’s a new day!
After more than a decade of neglect, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), the nonprofits and workforce that provide supports are getting the investment they deserve.
During her State of the State address, Governor Kathy Hochul announced plans for a significant investment in our workforce, supports and services.

Hochul announced that her Executive Budget proposal will include $2 billion in workforce funding and $500 million in cost of living increases to support a sustainable care infrastructure and begin to address the current workforce crisis.

The proposal also includes many of the CP State/NYDA requests, including:
• 5.4% cost of living adjustment (COLA)
• $3,000 in retention bonuses,
• Connecting Immigrant New Yorkers to Direct Support Professions
• Expanding the Direct Support Professional Career and Technical Education Program
• Expanding the SUNY for All Partnership with OPWDD
• Supporting More Career Flexibility for Direct Care Workers
• Making New York a Model for the Employment of Workers with Disabilities
• Creating an Office of the Chief Disability Officer
“We applaud the Governor for making New Yorkers with disabilities a priority in her budget, and in the state,” said Susan Constantino, President and CEO of CP State. “Our sector has been in crisis for too long, and I am encouraged to see the Governor understands our challenges and is willing to address them. But that didn’t happen in a vacuum. Our Affiliates, their staff, the people we support and their families, have all made their voices heard over these past months and years. We thank all for your tireless advocacy.”
Read more about the Governor’s investment here: https://on.ny.gov/3JMC3aH

Legislators talk workforce crisis at NYDA forum

Legislators and Speakers Shared Assessments of the 2022 Legislative Session, the I/DD Sector’s Role, and Discussed New Data from Provider Agencies

 

Albany, NY— New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) hosted a roundtable with New York State Senators and Assembly Members to discuss the 2022 legislative priorities of New York’s I/DD community on Wednesday, December 15. Joining NYDA were Senator John Mannion, Chairman of Committee on Disabilities, Senator Mike Martucci, Senator Fred Akshar, Senator John Brooks, Senator Simcha Felder, Assemblymember Tom Abinanti, Chair of Committee on People with Disabilities, Assemblymember Melissa Miller, and Assemblymember Chris Burdick. Video of the event can be found on NYDA’s Facebook page: NYDA December Legislative Roundtable.

“We thank the Senators and Assembly Members that came today to hear and discuss with us directly of what New York’s I/DD community needs in 2022 to pull ourselves out of this crisis and create a sustainable, working system of support,” said Tom McAlvanah, President of the New York Disability Advocates. “There are over 140,000 individuals with I/DD throughout New York State. For nearly a decade, they, their families, support staff, provider agencies have been contending with a neglect of funding, which has resulted in a full-blown crisis. We look forward to working with New York’s legislature to address these long-standing issues in 2022.”

“In terms of a workforce, we are in an immediate crisis. We are developing legislation for a tax credit for DSPs and making sure there are incentives to not only draw them into the profession, but keep them in the profession,” said Senator John Mannion, Chairman of the Committee on Disabilities. “Not only will we be doing the right thing for the members of our community that need our help, but this could even become an economic driver.”

“We are not at a crossroads—our toes are at the edge of a cliff. We have to make sure that we sustain recurring funding in this budget to once and for all fill this hole and allow us to truly address the issue with wages,” said Senator Mike Martucci. “These are human rights issues, and we are at a critical point where we must make a change.”

“There are certain things that transcend politics, and this space is one of those things. This is an issue we should all take on because it is for the betterment of our community,” said Senator Fred Akshar. “At the end of the day, the government has a fundamental and moral obligation to take care of those who need help.”

“New York’s system for serving people with disabilities is on the verge of collapsing,” said Assemblymember Tom Abinanti, Chair, Committee on People with Disabilities. “There is a critical workforce shortage from top to bottom – entry-level to management to behavioral and medical staff. We all need to do our part to solve it. We need to make working in this field a career, not just a job. People need to be able to advance, earn more at each step and feel they are appreciated.”

 

“We’re at severe risk of people dying because they’re not getting the care they need. In order to rectify this crisis, we need a long-term annual budget commitment,” said Assemblymember Melissa Miller. “The workers in this field do important jobs and we are not going to get people to come to this field unless we make it worth their while and show them how much we value their work.”

“I was happy to join some of my colleagues in the Legislature, along with advocates for people with disabilities from around New York State for a roundtable discussion on how to best serve and provide for the disabled community in the upcoming legislative session,” said Assemblymember Karen McMahon (D-Amherst) [or (D-146th AD)]. “We are all aware there is a significant workforce crisis facing the I/DD community and we must focus our efforts on creative solutions to this problem. After our discussion today, I am encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by all parties ahead of our return to Albany.”

“I am very encouraged by the completely different tone in Albany.  I honestly feel we are going to make some real headway, but we cannot do it without the work of the advocacy community, said Assemblymember Chris Burdick. “We have a great opportunity now. Let us seize that opportunity this legislative season and in the upcoming budget.”

During the roundtable, NYDA outlined the primary focus of its 2022 legislative priorities: secure the necessary investments needed to create a robust care economy for New Yorke State. This includes addressing the Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce crisis. For nearly a decade New York State failed to invest in sustaining essential support and services for New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Without adequate funding, I/DD providers are unable to offer competitive wages to entice workers for this critical role and compete against the employment incentives of the food and retail sectors. An October, NYDA survey found there are 23,563 vacant DSP positions across the state, with 93.1% of agencies having reported a decrease in the number of job applications.

COLA Implementation and Workforce Funding

To address this crisis, NYDA is calling upon Governor Hochul, and New York legislators to implement the full 5.4% COLA in the FY 2023 State Budget, to compensate for the deficit payments of the last years, which has resulted in the current workforce crisis. Full implementation of the COLA would immediately improve recruitment and retention of workers employed by voluntary providers, as well as provide for inflationary cost increases.

NYDA is also calling on the State to build on the investment that the Federal Government has made to make permanent the 20% DSP Wage Bonus and authorize providers to build this enhancement into their wages moving forward. Additionally, to recognize the life-preserving, essential, yet demanding work of Direct Support Professionals (DSP), NYDA is calling on the state to implement a personal DSP income tax credit.

Retention and Education

Recognizing that recruitment and funding are only part of the solution to solve the workforce crisis that the I/DD community is currently facing, NYDA will also be prioritizing the implementation of professional DSP development programs to increase retention rates. SUNY and CUNY Direct Support Professional Credit and Career Ladder programs will serve as a pipeline for students to enter a successful career in the human services field. Once in the field, established career pathways and advanced training opportunities, through DSP credentialing programs, will enable DSPs to build upon their competencies and experience, improving and sustaining the I/DD sector through the future.

About New York Disability Advocates (NYDA)

(NYDA) is a statewide coalition of more than 300 non-profit organizations providing vital services and support to more than 125,000 New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Better Care=Better Lives: CP State Offering Online Curriculum to Improve I/DD Healthcare

Better Care=Better Lives

CP State Offering Online Curriculum to Improve I/DD HealthcareFeaturing Continuing Education Courses for Clinicians in New York State

CP State, in partnership with the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, is proud to offer a FREE educational training series to all New York State clinicians, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, therapists, dentists, students of these disciplines, and any health professional who works one-on-one with patients.  This training series teaches the fundamentals of I/DD healthcare that every clinician should know.

The “Curriculum in IDD Healthcare”, written and delivered by Craig Escude, MD, FAAFP, FAADM, with over 20 years’ experience providing medical care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is an online training course which includes 5 hours of CME credit for prescribing clinicians and 6 CEU nursing credits.  There are six (6) modules within the course covering everything from healthcare basics in I/DD to common behavioral presentations of medical conditions in people with I/DD.  Learners can complete this 4.5 hour course at their own pace through CP State’s learning management system.

The “Fatal Five Advanced E-Learn Course” was developed to educate clinicians on the topic of the fatal five conditions affecting individuals with IDD, to include:  aspiration, bowel obstruction, dehydration, seizures, sepsis, and GERD.  This 6-hour self-paced course provides 7 CEU credit hours for registered nurses.

Additional training courses are available for case managers, direct support professionals, and non-clinical personnel.  CP State will continue to add new courses to the library as they become available.

All courses will be presented on the SAP/Litmos learning management system platform, administered by CP State. To sign up for your free account to gain access to our online library of training courses, visit www.cpstate.org/bettercare.  Please allow 1-2 business days for your account to be established.  At that point, you will receive an email generated directly from SAP/Litmos.  Note:  The SAP/Litmos email may end up in your junk or spam folders unless you alert your IT staff or spam filter to allow an email to come from this source. The SAP/Litmos email will provide a link for creating your own personal password and finalizing your new account.  CP State will follow up with a separate email to you which includes step-by-step instructions on accessing the training courses.

Please forward this information to any and all health professionals within your organization and your community.  Anyone can take advantage of this educational series as a way to improve performance in delivering high quality services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Cindy Morris, Project Director for the Clinician Training Program, at (518) 612-4510 or via email at cmorris@cpstate.org.  Thank you.

OPWDD advises vaccination deadline for staff extended to Jan. 14

We have been advised this morning by OPWDD that the deadline for staff to be fully vaccinated in order to take advantage of the bonus is extended from December 1, 2021 to January 14, 2022.

The vaccine incentive payment is for qualified workers who have been fully vaccinated* by 1/14/2022 at $500/FTE, $250/ part-time employee (at least 20 hours), and $125/part-time employees working less than 20 hours/week

*Fully vaccinated means one dose of J&J or both doses of Pfizer or Moderna administered no later than 1/14/2022.  The payroll language will no longer be included, meaning the drop dead date to be eligible will be 1/14/2022.

There will be a webinar on December 2, 2021 at 4 p.m. for providers to learn more about FMAP approval.  We will send the link as soon as we receive it.

Gov. announces $1.5 Billion for workers who directly support those with I/DD

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that the New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities will provide over $1.5 billion in one-time American Rescue Plan Act Funding to support recruitment efforts, retention incentives and vaccination bonuses for direct support professionals who provide support for people with developmental disabilities in an effort to address workforce shortages in this field.

“Direct Support Professionals provided essential support to people with developmental disabilities throughout the pandemic when we needed them most, in spite of the risk to themselves and their own families,” Governor Hochul said. “We owe these workers a debt of gratitude and the American Rescue Plan funding paves the way for bonuses, incentives and one time pay raises to help keep these hardworking, loyal and devoted workers doing what they love most, supporting people with developmental disabilities.”

New York State submitted its initial draft spending plan to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the enhanced federal funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on July 8, 2021. The CMS has provided partial approval of the plan as it relates to the workforce.

As approved, OPWDD’s plan targeted most of the funding to workforce initiatives, including payments to provide bonuses to DSPs and family care providers. OPWDD plans to invest the one-time ARPA funding in workforce improvements and incentives including:

  • A “Heroes Fund” which will provide incentive payments to those DSPs who worked during the unprecedented pandemic with additional payments for those who received the COVID vaccine.
  • Retention and longevity bonuses will make additional investments in the workforce by rewarding longevity and providing additional bonuses to staff who remain in the DSP workforce.
  • Long-term recruitment and retention strategies which will be developed and tested with funding for projects that address the long-term stability of the workforce. Funding will be made available to incentivize credentialing and other strategies that build skills and competency of DSP workforce and front-line supervisors.

Read more.

Message from new Acting OPWDD Commissioner Kerri Neifeld

Kerri Neifeld tapped as OPWDD Commissioner

Former DSP Jihoon Kim named Deputy

Yesterday Governor Hochul announced the nomination of Kerri Neifeld as the new commissioner for OPWDD and the appointment of Jihoon Kim as Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services. These positions are critical to our field, and we consider Governor Hochul’s selections to be very encouraging choices. Both Ms. Neifeld and Mr. Kim are extremely knowledgeable, and have served as advocates for our field during their careers. We have worked with them extensively, and have appreciated their candor, transparency and responsiveness. We are confident they will provide compassionate and thoughtful leadership moving forward.

CP State welcomes Dr. Sharon Carpinello to the team

The former OMH Commissioner will guide mental health strategy for Affiliates

Cerebral Palsy Associations of NYS is proud to announce that former NYS Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Sharon Carpinello is joining our team to guide our mental health advocacy strategy and serve as a consultant to support Affiliates.

With the increasing expressed need of the prevalence of mental health issues in the people we support and the barriers presented in the State’s current siloed funding and oversight, Sharon will be an invaluable resource for CP of NYS and our Affiliates as we navigate these issues and identify strategic options to better meet the growing needs.

This proactive step to better support our Affiliates comes at a time of great change in the disability movement and we believe Sharon’s wealth of knowledge and experience is truly a case of “the right person at the right time” in our system’s evolution. In the years since she was the Commissioner of OMH, Sharon has remained an advocate for people with disabilities. Her roles in the legislature as a mental hygiene staff consultant and principal analyst includes analysis and negotiations of the Executive Budget as it pertained to people with developmental disabilities, substance abuse problems, serious mental illness and people who are incarcerated.

Dr. Carpinello has devoted much of her life to people with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Her motto about wellness is: “at home, in the community, at work, in school and with friends”. We’re fortunate to have her on the team. Please join us in welcoming her to the CP family!