FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, March 5, 2020

(Albany, NY): The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) was awarded a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to start the Good Neighbor Program. The award is part of the first round of grants made by the new foundation, which is focused on the health and well-being of low-income and underserved New Yorkers.

The Good Neighbor Program assists people in nursing homes who wish to return to the community. Individuals that live in nursing homes may find they no longer have connections to their community and informal supports that might have existed prior to admission. The Good Neighbor Program is designed to fill gaps in the informal support network by enlisting Neighbors to support transition to community living.
 
Neighbors are paid a stipend to provide back-up assistance when needed, but also to build a neighborly relationship. Neighbors serve a role in breaking down social isolation and building engagement within the community. Social activity and independent living play important roles in improving health and happiness.
 
NYAIL currently administers the Open Doors program, which staffs Transition Specialists and Peer Advocates across New York State to assist people in transitioning out of nursing facilities and other institutions back to the community. Since 2015, Open Doors has received more than 10,000 referrals and has helped transition over 3,500 individuals.
 
“NYAIL is extremely thankful to the Mother Cabrini Foundation for funding the Good Neighbor Program. In our experience with the Open Doors program, one of the biggest barriers to transition for many individuals is the lack of informal supports. It is our hope that the Good Neighbor program will help address that barrier, bridging the gap between institution and community for individuals, and providing a model to New York State to help increase transitions long term.” – Lindsay Miller, Executive Director
 
For more information about the Good Neighbor Program call NYAIL at 518-465-4650.
 
The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) is a statewide membership organization of Independent Living Centers (ILCs), community-based not-for-profit providers of advocacy, services and supports for New Yorkers with disabilities of all ages. ILCs are controlled by, and largely staffed by, people with disabilities. NYAIL strengthens local Independent Living Centers and is a leader in the civil rights movement for all people with disabilities.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Contact: Alex Thompson, (518) 465-4650, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                                                     

 (Albany, NY) – Independent Living advocates expressed frustration and disappointment with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s veto of Assembly bill 4737/Senate bill 1674, which would have created the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities. The Governor instead chose to create a Chief Disability Officer position within the Executive Department, with a promise that it would address all the objectives of the legislation.

People with disabilities, particularly physical and sensory disabilities, are frustrated that the current structure of State government has left them without any representation when key policy and budget decisions are being made which impact their daily lives. As an example, a decision was made to authorize Uber and Lyft to operate statewide, without any requirement to provide comparable service to people who use wheelchairs. As a result, advocates had to file litigation to protect their rights.

The disability community applauds the sponsors of the legislation for their vision and for gaining   overwhelming support of both houses. “I appreciate the dedication of Senator Skoufis and Assemblyman Steck in moving us to this point. They have been great allies. Adding a Chief Disability Officer is a step in the right direction toward the recognition and voice we need. I’m hopeful that regular communication with the Chief Disability Officer will lead to a broader understanding by the executive chamber on our issues,” said Doug Hovey, President and CEO of Independent Living, Inc. based in Orange County.

 “We are deeply disappointed Governor Cuomo chose to veto this bill that would have created the Office for the Advocate for People with Disabilities and provide a voice to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities across the State. We have been working for years within the confines of the Budget process to make this Office a reality. We believe that the voice we are seeking requires more than one person. However, we will work with whoever is hired as the Chief Disability Officer, to make the Governor’s commitment to accomplish all the tasks outlined in the vetoed bill a reality,” said Lindsay Miller, Executive Director for the New York Association on Independent Living. 

About NYAIL – The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) is a statewide membership organization of Independent Living Centers (ILCs), community-based not-for-profit providers of advocacy, services and supports for New Yorkers with disabilities of all ages. ILCs are controlled by, and largely staffed by, people with disabilities. NYAIL strengthens local Independent Living Centers and is a leader in the civil rights movement for all people with disabilities.

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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.”