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March 6, 2013

 

Last week Governor Cuomo proposed a $240 million cut in Medicaid funds to all not-for-profit providers that support thousands of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is a 6% cut for all not-for-profit providers in NYState. Franziska Racker Centers would see a cut of almost $1 million. Challenge will see a reduction of $110,000. Like all of you, we want Governor Cuomo to balance the budget while supporting the needs of the people in NYState, but this cut is more than our "fair-share".

 

If enacted, the cut will negatively impact the quality of life of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, individuals who are most in need of important supports and services. A cut of this magnitude will result in less staff - there is no other way to absorb a cut of this size. Service Coordination providers will have higher caseloads, limiting their ability to serve people in the most proactive, supportive, and cost-saving manner.

 

Residential program participants will lose ongoing opportunities for meaningful integration in their community. Those most in need of help to obtain employment will not be helped at a time when the state has aggressive goals to increase employment opportunities for those who have barriers. 

 

If agencies are forced to absorb this drastic cut they may violate the Willowbrook settlement between New York State and the federal government, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willowbrook_State_School, requiring New York State to do more than "custodial" care. Despite Governor Cuomo maintaining that he supports the least restrictive services for people with disabilities, these drastic cuts will also impede New York's ability to comply with the Olmstead Decision. http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/index.htm

 

Additionally:

-          NYState also provides the same types of services to individuals with disabilities, but Governor Cuomo is not applying some of these new cuts to these NYState operations.  Even though it costs NYState more than double what it costs for not-for-profits to provide the same service.

 

-          Just eighteen months ago many not-for-profits received rate cuts, Franziska Racker Centers cut at that time was $808,000 and Challenge lost $80,000.

 

We completely agree that the system in NYState is too costly and we must work on ways to lower the cost enabling us to serve more people with less money. We suspect Governor Cuomo would agree, but rather than partnering with providers on a plan to reduce unneeded regulatory requirements, allow more flexibility in how services are delivered and improve efficiencies, Governor Cuomo is just going to put the burden directly on individuals with disabilities.  Making across the board reductions rather than strategic decisions is the worst way to proceed.

 

All around NYState not-for-profits are beginning advocacy efforts, but there is not much time. Governor Cuomo will make his final budget recommendations by March 11th. We need your help. Please go to www.rackercenters.org and click the link "stop $1 million in cuts" and send a letter a letter to Governor Cuomo and your legislative representatives.

 

Dan Brown

Executive Director

Franziska Racker Centers

 

Patrick McKee

President

Challenge Workforce Solutions