FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, July 26, 2019

Contact: 

  • Bryan O'Malley    (518) 495-2181 (cell)
  • Meghan Parker    (914) 417-8651 (cell)
  • Kathy Febraio       (518) 817-3921 (cell)

ON ANNIVERSARY OF ADA, GROUPS SUE NY OVER CUTS TO LONG-TERM CARE

ALBANY, NY – As people with disabilities celebrated the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a group of associations and providers filed papers today, suing the New York State Department of Health (DOH) over a recently announced funding policy. They say the new method will bankrupt Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA), a popular Medicaid program that lets 90,000 people live independently in the community. CDPA allows seniors and individuals with disabilities to take charge of their own services and has become increasingly popular over the past several years.

The associations filing suit are the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of NYS (CDPAANYS), the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP), and the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL). All three organizations represent provider agencies in the CDPA program. In addition to the three associations, 12 individual agencies, known as fiscal intermediaries, have signed on to the suit.

The suit alleges that the DOH violated state laws and regulations in the development of a new rate for agencies and that it does not represent the actual cost of doing business. The policy that is being challenged was discussed during this year’s State budget process; however, the final budget did not include any language telling DOH to move forward, and important details were not made available until recently. The rate that was proposed would change reimbursement from an hourly basis to a “per member, per month” system. It would also dramatically reduce funds available to actually run the business, to $0.34 per hour or less for services provided.

As New York has become the center of a national workforce crisis in-home care, CDPA has allowed the state to continue to meet the needs of seniors and people with disabilities as they seek to live in the community. Those in need of services hire their own workers, who can include siblings, adult children, and other family members. While not eliminating the impact of the crisis entirely CDPA has allowed many individuals to have at least a minimum amount of services.

Those filing suit maintain that if the new rates take effect, the continued availability of CDPA is in jeopardy, with no resources in the community to take their place. Indeed, the DOH, in its application to the Federal government requesting permission for the rate change, admitted that the services do not exist in the community, saying that any issues people have receiving services because of the new rates can easily be met “…since there is excess bed capacity for both hospitals and nursing homes.” Advocates expressed disbelief at the bluntness of DOH’s rationale, noting that it violates the civil rights of people with disabilities, the ADA, and the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, which guarantees access to services in the least restrictive setting.

Bryan O’Malley, Executive Director of CDPAANYS, said, “We are not happy that we are celebrating the anniversary of the ADA by bringing this suit against the Department of Health; however, we cannot let this attack on critical services for people with disabilities and seniors go unchecked. We have offered alternative savings ideas and rate structures to the state and have been repeatedly rejected. This is the only avenue we have left to try to protect the 90,000 New Yorkers who rely on this service.”

“Despite ongoing attempts over the past few months to explain all of the work that goes into being a fiscal intermediary and the associated costs, DOH arbitrarily picked funding levels, based not on what it costs to be an FI, but the amount they wanted to save in the budget,” states Lindsay Miller, Executive Director of the New York Association on Independent Living. “Under these new rates, we expect to face rapid closure of FIs around the State, putting the entire consumer-directed model at risk,” Miller adds.

“The New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP) has grave concerns that consumers in the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program will be severely and negatively impacted by the Department of Health’s proposed changes for the program,” said Kathy Febraio, President. “Fiscal Intermediaries are being forced to consider closing their doors—leaving an untold number of consumers facing the unknown for their day-to-day care and potentially surrendering their independence.”