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
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.”