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 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

OPWDD

  • 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.”

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.

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.

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!