Racker certified as Living Wage Employer

Racker, One of the County’s Largest Employers Certifies as Living Wage with Tompkins Workers’ Ctr

Racker and Tompkins County Workers’ Center are excited to report that Racker was recently certified as a Living Wage Employer.

The Tompkins County Living Wage is calculated bi-annually by Alternatives Federal Credit Union. The current Living Wage is $15.32 per hour. All staff at Racker earn more than $15.32 per hour.

Racker currently employs 735 staff in Tompkins, Cortland and Tioga Counties. They provide a wide continuum of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. In 2013, the organization developed a strategic plan that included providing a living wage for every employee. At that time, the Tompkins County Living Wage standard was $12.42. During this nine-year journey, Racker implemented organizational changes that included efficiencies that moved money to staff wages, particularly for those providing direct care. They ramped up advocacy efforts while working with local state legislators to increase reimbursement rates from contracted New York State agencies. The combination of those efforts allowed Racker to close a $3 million Living Wage gap, moving the compensation of over 300 staff from below a Living Wage to above a Living Wage.

Sandra Morris, a direct support professional at Racker, reflected on the new certification: “I am so proud to work for an agency that has put in so much effort to become a certified livable wage employer, because it shows that they care about their employees and the people they serve. I believe when people are happy and less stressed, they are able to work better. They don’t need to worry about sacrificing time with family by getting a second job just to be able to make ends meet. Being happy at work and being happy at home go hand in hand. When we are happy, we transfer that happiness to the people around us. I feel that Racker has the same philosophy.”

Dan Brown, Executive Director at Racker, stated that reaching this goal was a team effort, and financially acknowledges the value of our staff and their impact on our Mission: We support people with disabilities and their families to lead fulfilling lives by providing opportunities to learn and be connected with others.

Pete Meyers, Coordinator of TCWC says: “The TCWC views Racker’s willingness and commitment to pay all of their workers a Living Wage, especially considering the fact that the industry that Racker occupies doesn’t typically pay all of its workers a Living Wage, a tremendous achievement by Racker, and we’re very thankful for Dan Brown’s work to make a Living Wage a reality for all Racker staff!”

Tompkins County Workers’ Center is a nonprofit organization that leads the Tompkins County community in a ‘moral and economic imperative of paying workers a Living Wage.’ Their Living Wage Certification Program provides a standard for local employers and recognizes those businesses that are able to achieve that baseline. Racker and Tompkins County Workers’ Center are proud to announce this achievement and will continue to work to ensure our community provides a fair wage to our neighbors.

Final State Budget includes 5.4%COLA, money for bonuses

 NEW YORK STATE 2022-2023 FINAL Budget Highlights

The New York State Legislature passed the final 2022-2023 budget bills early on Saturday, April 9, 2022.  The final $220 billion budget was $4 billion more than Governor Hochul had proposed in January with many controversial and policy/non-budget measures including:

  • $1.2 billion for one-time frontline healthcare workers bonuses
  • $3.9 billion in funding to aid hospitals
  • $7.7 billion over four years to increase the home care minimum wage by $3.
  • $7 billion over the next four years to expand childcare
  • Gas and diesel fuel tax cut by 16 cents a gallon from June 1 through December 31, 2022
  • $600 million for a new Buffalo Bills Stadium
  • $2.2 billion in one-time property tax rebates for low- and middle-income property owners
  • $162 million in tax cuts for middle class families to be fully phased in by April 2023, instead of waiting until 2025
  • $800 million to the state’s depleted COVID rental assistance program
  • $250 million in utility arrear assistance
  • $125 million in homeowner and landlord assistance
  • Changes to bail laws


Following are the highlights of interest to CP of NYS Affiliates:



  • 5.4% Human Services COLA –$149.1 million for OPWDD COLA
  • $136.3 million for OPWDD Healthcare and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonuses (see detailed summary below the highlights) –
    • Workers are eligible for two six-month intervals between 10/1/21—3/31/24.
    • Employees – Include full-time, part-time, on a scheduled or temporary basis, or as an independent contractor that receives an annualized based salary of $125,000 or less and worked:
      • An average of at least 20 but less than 30 hours per week = $500.00
      • An average of at least 30 but less than 35 hours per week = $1,000.00
      • An average of 35 or more = $1,500.00
      • Full time employees exempt from overtime = $1,500.00
    • Workers can qualify after six months of employment for the first bonus.
    • Applies to a long list of titles in OPWDD, OMH, OASAS, and includes “such titles as determined by the commissioner.
    • Bonuses are exempt from income which is included in the calculation to determine their federal or state public benefits
  • Statewide Healthcare Facility Transformation Program (SHCFTP) – authorizes Phase IV funding and added OPWDD community-based programs as eligible
  • Nurses Across NY Loan Forgiveness Program – includes underserved populations/DD
  • Temporary operators – Gives OPWDD permanent authority to appoint temporary operators
  • New Opportunities for those living at home – $2 million for new service opportunities for individuals with disabilities that are currently living at home and whose caregivers are unable to continue caring for them



  • The Education Article VII language will:
    • Allow special education schools (4410, 853 & Special Acts) to retain annual surpluses of 11% in 2022-23 through 2024-25, 8% in 2025-26, 5% in 2026-27, and 2% in 2027-28 and thereafter.
    • Limit the language, that was added in last year’s budget for an 853 reserve fund of up to 1% per year for a maximum of 4%, to the 2021-22 school year – which was needed for 853s to retain the surpluses of 11% etc.
    • There apparently will be a “side letter” to outline the legislative intent, clarify the agreement, and provide definitions (i.e., “allowable and reimbursable costs,” holding future tuition rates harmless from the impact of surplus deposits, etc.)
    • Will not eliminate reconciliation, add interim plus rates or hold harmless for enrollment declines.
    • We will be working with SED, The Legislature and the Executive to ensure that the Governor’s promise of an 11% COLA is kept.
  • Healthcare bonuses (See below) applies to clinical staff/titles listed below in 4410s & 853s. Does not apply to teachers, teacher aides, teacher assistants.
  • Retired Employees – May be employed by a school district or BOCES without any impact on their pension until June 30, 2023.



  • Repeals MRT #26
  • Medicaid 1% across the board increase – for DOH Medicaid programs including Article 28 clinics, Early Intervention
  • Utilization Thresholds – accepts the repeal of utilization thresholds
  • Prescriber Prevails – maintains Prescriber Prevails in the Medicaid pharmacy benefit
  • Fair Pay for Home Care – Provides for a $1.50 increase to the home care minimum wage this year and another $1.50 increase next year for a total of a $3 increase.
  • Telehealth payment parity – modifies the Executive proposal to include a two-year sunset and requires a detailed report on the use of telehealth. Article 28 (this does NOT include FQHCs) facility fees will not be reimbursed if both distant and originating site are not in the Article 28 clinic
  • Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program – includes a proposal that allows CDPAP fiscal intermediaries, that were not initially selected in the 2021 Commissioner’s RFO (including those who serve I/DD), to provide services.
  • Healthcare bonuses (see below) we believe this applies to clinical staff/titles listed below in Affiliate Early Intervention programs



  • 5,4% Human Services COLA includes OPWDD, OMH, OASAS
  • Kendra’s Law – Extends for 5 years
  • 988 Hotline – Establishes a 9-8-8 suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis hotline system with modified reporting metrics and ensures call centers are established in-house.
  • Mental Health Criminal Justice Reforms
    • Connect criminal defendants with mental health treatment through existing procedures under the Mental Health Law and ensure that the court stays connected with the defendant throughout his or her treatment
    • Allow mental health practitioners to testify via video conference.
    • Allow for expanded care coordination for mental health.
    • Allow for mental health reassessment within six months of the expiration of an assisted outpatient treatment order.
  • Child Care Subsidies – increases the income eligibility for child care subsidies to 300% of the federal poverty level and increases reimbursement rates from 69% to 80% .The work requirement for recipients in post-secondary education was eliminated and the Executive’s language modification related to rollover funds for local districts was eliminated. The 10 percent of income over the Federal Poverty Level cap on copayments was continued.
  • JCOPE – Replaces the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government to streamline the candidate requirements for Executive Director; include victim statement confidentiality requirements; increase Commission member standards; and to specify that unfounded complaints are not FOIL-accessible



SFY 2022/23 Budget Healthcare Worker Bonuses

Bonuses must be claimed and paid to all eligible employees in two payments, not to exceed $3000.00.  Payments are based on hours worked during the six-month vesting periods, which began on 10/1/21 and ends on 3/31/24.

  1. Employee means full-time, part-time, salaried, hourly, temporary or independent contractor front line health care and mental hygiene workers (see list of titles from the statute below) as long as they earned a base salary of $125,000 or less. State employees are included.
  2. Employer means a Medicaid provider with at least one employee that bills for services under the state plan or HCBS waiver, or that has a provider agreement through managed care or a managed long term care plan and programs funded by OMH, OASAS, OPWDD, NYSOFA, higher ed, public or nonpublic schools, approved preschool programs for students with disabilities, charter schools, BOCES, a public health district or municipal corporation (counties, cities including NYC, towns, villages or school districts).
  3. Vesting Period is a series of 6-month periods between 10/1/21 and 3/31/24, during which time employees must be continuously employed.
  4. Base salary is the gross wages during the vesting period excluding bonuses and overtime pay.
  5. Tracking and submission of claims for bonuses – the Commissioner shall develop forms and procedures to identify the number of hours employees worked, for providers to be reimbursed to fund bonuses. Employers shall track the number of hours worked during the vesting period and, as applicable, the number of patients served by the employer who are eligible for services under this title and submit claims for reimbursement of employee bonus payments.  Payroll records will be used to determine an employee’s annualized base salary. Employers must maintain contemporaneous records for all tracking and claims related information and documents required to substantiate claims for a period of no less than six years.
  6. Payment of bonuses. The Commissioner will issue a vesting schedule for employers to pay bonuses based on the number of hours worked in the vesting periods.  Total payments are not to exceed $3,000.00 per employee:
  • For employees who worked:
    • An average of at least 20 but less than 30 hours per week = $500.00
    • An average of at least 30 but less than 35 hours per week = $1,000.00
    • An average of 35 or more = $1,500.00
    • Full time employees exempt from overtime = $1,500.00
  • Employees are eligible for bonuses for no more than two vesting periods per employer.
  • Payments must be paid no later than 30 days after the bonus is paid to the employer.
  • Employers must submit claims for bonuses no later than thirty days after an employee’s eligibility for the bonus vests.
  • Sick, vacation and FMLA hours are credited toward hours worked during the vesting period.
  • Payments to employees shall not be included in the calculation to determine their federal or state public benefits
  1. Employers that fail to identify, claim, and pay bonuses for more than ten percent of eligible employees shall be subject to additional penalties including fines of up to $1,000.00 per employee.

List of Titles in the Statute:

Physician  assistants,  dental  hygienists,  dental  assistants, psychiatric aides, pharmacists, pharmacy  technicians,  physical  therapists, physical therapy assistants, physical therapy aides, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, occupational therapy aides, speech-language pathologists, respiratory therapists, exercise physiologists,   recreational  therapists,  all  other  therapists,  orthotists, prosthetists, clinical laboratory technologists and  technicians,  diagnostic  medical sonographers, nuclear medicine technologists, radiologic technologists,  magnetic  resonance  imaging  technologists,  ophthalmic medical technicians, radiation therapists, dietetic technicians, cardiovascular  technologists  and  technicians,  certified  first responders, emergency medical technicians, advanced emergency  medical  technicians, paramedics,  surgical  technologists, all other health technologists and technicians, orderlies, medical  assistants,  phlebotomists,  all  other health  care  support workers, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, nursing assistants, and licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses;

Staff who perform functions as described in the consolidated fiscal report (CFR) manual with respect to the following title codes:

Mental Hygiene Worker; Residence/Site Worker; Counselor (OMH); Manager (OMH); Senior Counselor (OMH); Supervisor (OMH); Developmental Disabilities Specialist QIDP – Direct Care (OPWDD); Certified Recovery Peer Advocate; Peer Professional – Non-CRPA (OASAS Only); Job Coach/Employment Specialist (OMH and OPWDD); Peer Specialist (OMH); Counselor –  Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (CASAC); Counseling Aide/Assistant – Alcoholism and Substance Abuse; Other Direct Care Staff; Case Manager; Counselor – Rehabilitation;

Developmental Disabilities Specialist/Habilitation Specialist QIDP – Clinical (OPWDD);

Emergency Medical Technician; Intensive Case Manager (OMH); Intensive Case Manager/Coordinator (OMH); Nurse – Licensed Practical; Nurse – Registered; Psychologist (Licensed); Psychologist (Master’s Level)/Behavioral Specialist; Psychology Worker/Other Behavioral Worker; Social Worker – Licensed (LMSW, LCSW); Social Worker – Master’s Level (MSW); Licensed Mental Health Counselor (OASAS, OMH, OCFS); Licensed Psychoanalyst (OMH); Therapist – Recreation; Therapist – Activity/Creative Arts; Therapist – Occupational;

Dietician/Nutritionist; Therapy Assistant/Activity Assistant; Nurse’s Aide/Medical Aide; Behavior Intervention Specialist 1 (OPWDD); Behavior Intervention Specialist 2 (OPWDD);

Clinical Coordinator; Intake/Screening; Pharmacist; Marriage and Family Counselor/Therapist; Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) Transition Coordinator (OMH);

Crisis Prevention Specialist (OMH); Early Recognition Specialist (OMH); Other Clinical Staff/Assistants; Nurse Practitioner/Nursing Supervisor; Therapist – Physical; Therapist – Speech; Program or Site Director; and Assistant Program or Assistant Site Director; and “such titles as determined by the commissioner, or relevant agency commissioner as applicable, and approved by the director of the budget.”


Advocate for people with disabilities!

Your voice makes a difference.

With the state budget still outstanding, we still have time to make a change for New Yorkers with disabilities!

Click on the images below to send messages to Governor Kathy Hochul and your local representatives. It only takes a few moments.

Men and women with disabilities. Text reads The NYS Assembly has proposed an 11% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for disability service providers and we need to make sure it stays in the final state budget! Go to and send a message to your legislators! Girl smelling a flower. Text reads 3 promises for special education.

OPWDD issues new directive memos, comments sought

The NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities issued the following Administrative Directive Memoranda (ADM), actions proposed and actions taken. OPWDD seeks comments on the draft IB Services and draft revised IDGS ADM.

Intensive Behavior (IB) Services – comments sought on draft ADM

OPWDD is considering changes to a draft, updated ADM defining the scope of IB services. The draft ADM will supersede ADM#2013-03.

Specifically, the updated ADM amends the required credentials of staff members who deliver and/or supervise the delivery of IB Services; the role of the Service Access, Program Implementation, and Stakeholder Support Regional Field Offices staff in the authorization of IB Services; additional requirements to become an IB Services provider agency (click here to access the new draft application); and the billing, documentation and reporting requirements of provider agencies authorized to deliver IB Services. Additionally, the ADM was updated to modify some of the program requirements and to provide additional flexibility for service authorization and utilization, including planned increases in the reimbursement fees associated with this particular service, to encourage additional providers to offer this vital service.

OPWDD seeks comments by April 11, 2022. Comments may be sent via email to the at Please include the name of this ADM in the subject line.

Individual Directed Good and Services (IDGS) – comments sought on draft ADM

OPWDD seeks comments on a draft revised IDGS ADM. Specifically, the draft revised ADM describes payment standards and service documentation requirements to support a provider’s claim for reimbursement for IDGS. IDGS are available only for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver authorized participants who self-direct their services with a self- direction budget. When an individual chooses to receive IDGS, the individual must choose a Fiscal Intermediary (FI) to bill and administer the service. This ADM was originally issued on April 10, 2015 (ADM 2015-05). It is now revised to include the current term “Life Plan.” The revised ADM also updates the Individual IDGS Definitions Chart. Additionally, the records retention requirement was changed. These changes appear in bold and are underlined.

OPWDD seeks comments by April 11, 2022. Comments may be sent via email to the at Please include the name of this ADM in the subject line.

Family Support Services – New ADM (Effective July 1, 2022)

OPWDD’s new Family Support Services ADM sets out the program’s Family Reimbursement requirements. The ADM includes eligibility requirements for reimbursement, how to request and process reimbursements, and the roles and responsibilities of FSS provider agencies, individuals, and families. This ADM will have a July 1, 2022 effective date to allow providers time to update their contracts/work plans and allow for training within the Regional offices and provider community.

Housing Subsidy ADM

OPWDD’s Housing Subsidy ADM provides information on eligibility requirements, responsibilities of providers and care managers, how to apply, what happens when someone is denied or terminated, and how to appeal decisions. Additional details about the program are included in the ADM as well as the associated attachments. They may be accessed here. The associated attachments include: Attachment A: Quality Assurance QA Expectations Checklist, Attachment B: Participation Agreement, Attachment C: Housing Subsidy & Transition Stipend Application, Attachment D: Housing Subsidy Budget Instructions and Attachment E: Pilot Program

Since stakeholder review of this ADM in 2021, several changes have been included:

  • Removed limit of 25% of the units in a building having a resident receiving an OPWDD Housing Subsidy;
  • Created new process to request support letters for groups of housing subsidies

Self-Direction Guidance

OPWDD has made to the Self-Direction Guidance for Providers, specifically related to guidelines about sharing staffing resources. Below includes a comprehensive list of changes made to the Self-Direction Guidance for Providers:

  • Update reimbursement service guidance for IDGS, OTPS and FRR based to be clear and consistent with prevailing guidance.
  • Add Broker Authorization section to bring current with ADM 2019-05.
  • OTPS – Change “valued outcome” to “VO, goal, or needs” – same as IDGS ADM and aligned with Care Management/Life Plan structure.
  • Shared Living Arrangement Language – add new chapter to establish expectations around shared living situations.
  • Out of State/Out of Country – Remove outdated SD requirements and edit to refer to applicable current ADM.
  • Attachment B – note that CSIDD and Resource Center are excluded from SD Budgets as consistent with communicated policy.
  • Attachment E – Correction to remove referral to Startup as lifetime, it resets in a year as described in the Brokerage chapter.
  • Attachment G – Updated ADMs and links to be current.

Promote 988, the mental health crisis number

The Office of Mental Health is requesting your help promoting its upcoming 988 Newsletter which will help New Yorkers stay up to date on the July 16 transition to the FCC-designated mental health crisis number.

The first edition of the newsletter is due out at the end of the month and it’s being written for ALL New Yorkers, so we’d really appreciate it if you could help spread the word and get people signed up for the List Serv.

Here’s how:

Share on Social Media:

1)      Share our social media posts

a.       Facebook:

b.       Twitter:

2)      Post the info on your own social media channels.

Here is a sample Facebook post:

And here’s a sample tweet:

Share through YOUR List Servs:

Send out the following message through your agency’s established List Servs to help us spread the word:

988 – A New Number for the Behavioral Health Crisis Hotline in New York State

988 is the new three-digit number that connects callers with behavioral health crisis counselors. Once it goes live on July 16, 2022, callers who dial 988 will be connected to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers. This easy-to-remember number will change the way we address behavioral health crises in New York State. The New York State Office of Mental Health has created a monthly newsletter that will provide updates, education, and information on 988.

To stay current on the development and implementation of 988 in New York, sign up for the 988 Updates and Education newsletter. When you click on the link a blank email message will open. All you will need to do is press send and you will be signed up for the newsletter. The first newsletter is expected to be sent out at the end of March 2022.

If you’d like to send out something different or are looking to change up the text- please check with me first to ensure it is accurate. There are a lot of nuances to 988 messaging that we have to follow ahead of its launch. Also, please sign up for the list serv yourself to get OMH’s sharable 988 educational resources delivered straight to your inbox for easy promotion!

50th Anniversary showing of ‘Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace’

50 years ago, ABC investigative reporter Geraldo Rivera responded to a call from doctors and social workers at the Willowbrook State School to report on the appalling conditions under which its residents lived. Rivera and his crew captured footage in that clandestine visit to the School that became the explosive and honest exposé Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace.

When his report aired nationally, viewers were shocked to see residents living in squalor with little access to comfort or care, the result of years of budget cuts that had left the once-model institution overcrowded and understaffed. The public outcry led to a Consent Judgement in the New York courts that ordered the closure of Willowbrook and became a key precedent establishing that Willowbrook residents had a constitutional right to be protected from harm.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the original broadcast and as part of the 2022 Year of Willowbrook at the College of Staten Island/ CUNY, the Willowbrook Legacy Project presented an evening of reflection and discussion with Geraldo Rivera, hosted by Ken Iwama, former CSI VP of Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations, now Chancellor of Indiana University Northwest.

Susan Constantino steps down as CEO of CP State

Mike Alvaro to assume position effective Feb. 1

It’s the end of an era for Cerebral Palsy Associations of NYS.

Susan Constantino, a stalwart advocate who has dedicated her life to fighting for disability rights and helping individuals achieve independence, has retired as President and CEO of CP State, effective February 1.

For decades, Susan has been tireless in her service to people with disabilities, and her accomplishments are numerous and awe inspiring.

She began in the field as a special education teacher, and eventually became the director of an education program for children with disabilities in Buffalo. From there, she served as the Director of Children’s Services at Aspire of Western New York from 1984 to 1989.

When computer-usage was still in its infancy, Susan had the foresight to become an early adopter of computer technology to aid people with disabilities, creating a program in the 1980s called “Special Friends and Computers.”

Susan was named President and CEO of Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State in July of 2004 after serving as Deputy Executive Director. For nearly 20 years, Susan led an association with 24 affiliates united by a mission of enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families. Under her leadership, CP of NYS affiliates continued to provide a wide variety of programs, including community-living opportunities, early-intervention, special-education, home service directors and family support services.

“To say that Susan shaped the landscape of disability services in New York would be an understatement,” said Mike Alvaro, who assumes the position of CEO. “Her legacy is the lasting positive influence on services, legislation, and the way we advocate for people with disabilities. CP State is truly the house that Susan built, and I am forever grateful for her leadership.”

Mike has been with CP State since July of 2003 and has been the Executive Director of the association since 2019. He has been instrumental in the formation and management of statewide advocacy coalitions, like New York Disability Advocates.

“Mike’s accomplishments at the CP State Association are too many to list and we are very fortunate to have him move seamlessly into his new position,” said CP State Board Chair Louis Tehan. “CP State is in the most competent hands and I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Mike on his new position.”

 Governor Hochul presents $216.3 Billion 2022-2023 Budget Proposal

On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul presented her first New York State Executive Budget proposal.  The $216.3 billion budget is in the context of a “post-pandemic future” that she said is “socially responsible and fiscally prudent.” The State Budget Director, Robert F. Mujica, provided a Q & A with the press after and said that this is the first budget in New York with no projected gaps in the next five to seven years.

Hochul’s plans include using the $7 billion in surplus cash toward:

  • $2 billion for property tax relief:
  • $2 billion for pandemic recovery initiatives, which could include emergency rental relief;
  • $32.8 billion capital plan for bridges, roads and new infrastructure projects;
  • $1 billion toward the health care transformation funding;
  • $1.2 billion in bonuses for health care, Direct care and frontline workers; and
  • $350 million for pandemic relief for business, theater and the musical arts

Below is very preliminary information that was in the Governor’s Briefing Book which is available at: Briefing Book (PDF) | NYS FY 2023 Executive Budget


  • Full 5.4% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to human services providers in FY 2023. The COLA applies to voluntary operated providers of services for OPWDD, OMH, OASAS, OCFS, OTDA, and SOFA. For the Mental Hygiene agencies, this amounts to $379.7 million ($643.6 million including federal matching funds) for OPWDD, OMH and OASAS voluntary operated programs, and will provide immediate fiscal relief to providers, enabling them to offer more competitive wages to their staff to permanently address workforce recruitment and retention issues and better support the individuals they serve.
  • Healthcare and Mental Hygiene Worker retention bonuses – As part of Governor Hochul’s plan to grow the healthcare workforce by 20 percent over the next five years, bonuses will be provided to frontline and direct care and clinical workers in the Mental Hygiene sector.  Up to $3,000 bonuses going to workers earning less than $100,000 who remain in their positions for one year, and pro-rated bonuses for those working fewer hours. For current employees, up to 6 months of previous employment will be included in the calculation for this bonus. The Executive Budget includes over $200 million in State resources to fund these bonuses for the community workforces providing services on behalf of OPWDD, OMH, and OASAS; and central appropriations for healthcare and mental hygiene workers employed by the State.
  • Minimum Wage- An additional $40.7 million in State funds is provided to support minimum wage increases for staff at not-for-profits licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by OPWDD, OMH, and OASAS.
  • Housing Subsidy Enhancements -OPWDD provides housing subsidies through the Individual Supports and Services (ISS) and Self-Direction (SD) programs supporting over 7,000 individuals with developmental disabilities who choose to live independently in their communities.  Continued investments in these subsidies are essential and OPWDD will invest $13 million in ISS/SD housing subsidies in FY 2023 to increase payment standards and align reimbursement for administration of these subsidies with changing policies.
  • A new $15 Million to Develop Housing – continues to expand independent living opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for a total of $110 million since FY 2016.  These funds are distinct from, and in addition to, resources that are available from the five-year, $20 billion affordable and supportive housing plan, which is also helping support the development of residential opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Restore Room & Board Supplement – OPWDD provides a supplement to Supervised and Supportive Residential Habilitation providers whose room and board costs exceed projected revenues. The agency will spend $9.5 million in FY 2023 to align room and board supplemental payments with actual costs and reimburse providers for the full amount of OPWDD-approved costs incurred
  • Expand Crisis Services – OPWDD has continued to expand its crisis intervention and behavioral health services over the years, implementing Crisis Services for Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (CSIDD) and establishing regional crisis networks. The Executive Budget provides $4.5 million to continue rate enhancements for Intensive Behavioral Services (IBS) and improve connections to county-based mobile crisis services. These investments will allow more individuals to remain in independent settings or with their family, and can also reduce unnecessary emergency room visits.
  • Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Investment -CANS is an assessment designed for children and youth up to age 17 that are eligible for OPWDD services. The information gathered helps Care Managers create an individualized, person-centered plan of services and supports. The FY 2023 Executive Budget includes a $10 million investment to increase the number of assessments and reassessments being conducted with the goal to better align the needs of individuals and the services provided. OPWDD Transition to Managed Care. The State continues to assess the potential effectiveness and sustainability of the proposed delivery system to ensure individuals continue receiving appropriate services in the most cost-effective manner.

All Mental Hygiene Agencies

  • Telehealth – The use of telehealth was rapidly expanded and continues to be an important tool to ensure access to care and the lessons learned during the first year of the pandemic, which will be used to continually improve the effectiveness of treatment and delivery of services for vulnerable populations throughout New York State, are supported by the Executive Budget.
  • Commit NYS to Becoming a Model Employer – includes provisions that will increase the number of workers with disabilities employed by New York’s public sector to set an example for other states to follow. To achieve this goal, the Governor proposes amending laws to increase the number of positions reserved for individuals with disabilities, developing trainings for State employees to better support individuals, and creating toolkits for local governments to become Model Employers
  • Create an Office of the Chief Disability Officer (CDO) – creates CDO office to address the multiple factors preventing more people with disabilities from finding meaningful employment. The CDO and staff will be charged with making specific, action-oriented recommendations around ensuring businesses have the necessary toolkits to hire people with disabilities and to help workers find these jobs

SED/Special Education

4410, 853 & Special Acts 11% Increase –  As promised in the Governor’s veto of the parity bill, “The Division of the Budget will administratively authorize a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 11 percent for the SY 2023 tuition rates, increasing providers’ annual funding by more than $240 million.”