NYAIL Summary of NYS Budget Results

Closeup of computer keyboard with large key labeled Updates

The following is a summary of the finished New York State Budget, from the New York Association on Independent Living ...

The budget was passed over the weekend. Now that it has passed, I want to share some updates this morning on our top priorities.

IL funding: The statewide network was allocated a $500,000 funding increase. Clearly this falls short of what we were seeking, but given the difficult budget year, it was an accomplishment to receive an increase at all. Further, now that we have strong support from both Education Chairs, we have momentum we can build on next year.

Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA) program:

The final language broadens who can be a FI from the proposed language, which limited it to ILCs and FIs who were in operation prior to 2012. It does still include ILCs in the language though as entities who can be FIs. Contracting will be directly with the Department Of Health, as opposed to LDSS offices.

The bill did include some consumer protections, including creating a workgroup, to be formed by May 15th, to do the following:

- best practices for the provision of fiscal intermediary services;

- inform the criteria for the application to be a fiscal intermediary;

- identify whether services should differ for different groups of consumers;

- identify what criteria should be used in reporting; and

- develop transition plans for consumers who may need to transition to a different fiscal intermediary.

As for our primary concern, which was changing reimbursements to a per member per month (PMPM) model, the bill does not address this. Advocates were hoping it would be part of the workgroup’s charge, but it is not. There is apparently a plan to move forward with a PMPM model though, which the Executive already had the authority to implement without approval from the legislature. The plan is for rates to be banded, meaning there is a low rate for people who need 1-4 hours; a higher rate for consumers who need more hours; and a high rate for consumers who need more than 96 hours. We will be confirming those rates with legislative staff today and sharing this with the FIs in our network.

Housing:

Access To Home level funded at $1 million. The funding increase for this program was to come from the Mortgage Insurance Funding (MIF), which did not turn out to have adequate funding to support our increase. We will need to work harder on ensuring the Senate and Executive understand the necessity of providing funding for home modifications.

Office for the Advocate not included in final budget. Though we had strong support in the Senate, we understand there were concerns from the Assembly and Executive which we are working to find out more regarding.

We will send a more thorough update shortly.

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Here is an overview of how the rest of our priorities on our Budget DPA did in the final budget.

Health / Medicaid:

Spousal refusal protected! People who have a spouse or child who become sick or disabled and require Medicaid will not have to divorce or institutionalize their loved ones just so they can get the care they require!

Prescriber prevails protected! A doctor will be able to determine the best course of treatment for their patients, as opposed to the managed care organization.

Global cap extended.

The final budget did not include a community-based high needs rate cell or risk adjustment, as proposed by the Assembly and Senate.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program was included.

New York Connects received a $1M increase over two years.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program level funded.

Elections:

Early voting funded! The budget includes $25M to cover the costs associated with implementing early voting. $14.7M will go toward purchasing software necessary software. This includes electronic poll books, as well as on-demand ballot printers and cybersecurity protections. An additional $10M will reimburse county Boards of Elections for costs associated with implementing early voting. Counties would not have the funds necessary  to implement early voting, so this is big.

Housing:

I already reported that a person’s lawful source of income is now a protected class in NYS Human Rights Law and Access To Home was level funded. As for our third housing priority, the Visitability Tax Credit was not included.

Employment:

Small Business Tax Credit not included.

Meghan Parker
Director of Advocacy
New York Association on Independent Living
155 Washington Ave, Suite 208
Albany, NY  12210
Phone: 518-465-4650
Fax: 518-465-4625
Email: mparker@ilny.org
Visit Our Website:  www.ilny.org

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NCCI Social Media Review

It has been almost a year since we started using social media more steadily to communicate with the North Country disability community, and with the broader network of disability rights organizations around the country. Now is probably a good time for an update on what we are doing and what you'll find in NCCI's social media. Click the links to check out these sites:


A visit to NCCI's website is probably the simplest way to connect with our other social media networks. From here you can easily get to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. The website itself also provides a good overview of NCCI's mission, services, staff, board of directors, and advocacy activities. There's also an online Calendar, and of course the NCCI Blog, which presents new information and action alerts at least once a week. Start here, and make the website a "Favorite" so it's easy to come back!

We add new posts daily, usually two disability-related articles or NCCI news items, plus some selected shares from other related Facebook pages. Our content is curated for quality and focus over quantity. You may not enjoy or agree with every item posted, but you can trust that it has been selected with care, for specific reasons related to disability issues and NCCI’s mission.

Twitter
 
We "tweet" the same items we post on Facebook, and also retweet selected items from other Twitter users. As with Facebook, content is carefully selected, and free of unrelated junk. Twitter is an especially active place for disability conversations. There is a growing number of unique disability groups and discussions going on exclusively on Twitter. Most disability organizations and disability rights leaders and thinkers use Twitter every day to explore disability issues. Twitter is also widely used by elected officials, (with varying quality and effectiveness of course), and by journalists. This makes Twitter a powerful meeting place where disability movements and organizations can raise our issues to the attention of traditional media and politicians.

There’s not much to look at yet, but we are making an effort to share more photos of NCCI activities. In the near future, we might also explore ways for the local disability community to share their own photos.

We have an NCCI introductory video posted, and a playlist of disability-related videos from other sources. We’ll soon be posting more videos profiling NCCI staff and programs.

Fall Accessibility Month ... Wrap-Up and Results

Fall Accessibility Month sign, with illustration of a person in a wheelchair at the bottom of a flight of stairs, and an orange colored maple leaf

September is just about over, and so is Fall Accessibility Month. Our first month focusing on doing online business accessibility ratings has produced some good results. As of today, the following Plattsburgh restaurants have been accessibility rated on the AbleRoad website. Click the links to see the detailed ratings:

Starbucks
4 1/2 Stars
359 Route 3
Plattsburgh

Latitude 44 Bistro
4 Stars
5131 US Avenue
Plattsburgh

Burger King
4 Stars
305 Cornelia Street
Plattsburgh

Below Deli
3 1/2 Stars
37 Bridge Street
Plattsburgh

Our House Bistro
3 1/2 Stars
15 Bridge Street
Plattsburgh

DeLish By Irises
3 1/2 Stars
24 City Hall Place
Plattsburgh

Pizza Hut
2 1/2 Stars
5069 US Avenue
Plattsburgh

Irises Cafe & Wine Bar
1 Star
20 City Hall Place
Plattsburgh

This is a good start, but there are still 72 restaurants in the Plattsburgh area that need accessibility ratings. This is a long-term project, and in January, 2017 will be the first Winter Accessibility Month.

In the meantime, you can still help us by registering for free at AbleRoad, looking up unrated restaurants in the 12901 Zip Code, and giving star ratings the restaurants you visit.

Start by visiting AbleRoad and getting set up to add accessibility ratings. Or, you can call, (518-563-9058), or stop by NCCI and ask for a list of restaurants to rate.

Paratransit Update

Illustration of a public transit bus
The Clinton County Legislature Transportation Committee voted last night, June 12, to have the Planning Department draft a written plan for proposed elimination of paratransit in "greater Plattsburgh." The Committee also agreed that there will be further public comment meetings on the plan once it is written. We will let everyone know as soon as the Planning Department has a completed written plan, possibly in July, as well as how and when the public can comment on it.

In the meantime, you can still sign the online petition, and encourage others to sign it as well ... especially people with disabilities who use Clinton County paratransit.

Change in para-transit system moves to planning stage: People with disabilities fear loss of independence
Dan Heath, Press-Republican - June 12, 2017

Albany Action Recap

Here is a review of yesterday's protest at the State Capitol in Albany. For more background, you can also read these items posted yesterday:
Here is the recap from Meghan Parker, Policy Analyst, New York Association on Independent Living:
Hi everyone,
THANK YOU to everyone who made the trip to Albany yesterday for our rally and protest for disability rights. We had an excellent turnout with representation from 18+ ILCs. About 250 of us gathered in Albany and took over the Governor’s War Room for the afternoon. People came with signs and we chanted throughout the day.
As you know, we have been very frustrated that this Governor has made many promises to our community which he has repeatedly broken. Not only does the Governor’s proposed budget do nothing to advance community integration, it actively undermines it. His proposed budget failed to include proposals which we were ensured would be included – like the Visitability Tax Credit and the Small Business Tax Credit – it also fails to adequately fund vital programs such as Consumer Directed and Independent Living.
We came with a list of demands, many of which could be accomplished through administrative action or by expressing public support through the remainder of the budget process. The Governor’s key staff came out and spoke with Lindsay, Bryan O’Malley, Bruce Darling and Kevin Cleary. However, they were unwilling to make any commitments and would not come out to address the full crowd. We said that wasn’t good enough. We gave them time to reconsider, but over an hour later there was no further response.
Given the lack of a response, advocates attempted to present Governor Cuomo with a screw award for screwing people with disabilities. The glass doors to the Governor’s office were closed – we blocked to door and hallway for two hours. Ultimately 25 advocates were arrested for disorderly conduct for refusing to back away from the door. Kudos to everyone who took that extra step of getting arrested! There were a number of reporters around throughout the day, including for the arrests. See: http://wskgnews.org/post/advocates-disabled-people-arrested-albany-protest#stream/0. We will be gathering all news articles and will share others. Please send any articles from your local media outlets or pictures you wtook at the event.
Of course, the budget process is not over. The senate and assembly are due to issue their one house budgets later this week. We are hopeful that a number of our priorities will be included. We then have until the end of March before the budget is finalized. We will keep you updated on what is in the senate and assembly’s proposed budgets. Stay tuned, the fight isn’t over yet!
Thanks also to all those who made calls to the Governor’s office in support of our protest, including NYAPRS and MHANYS advocates. Special thanks to CDPAANYS and ADAPT who helped to organize and cover costs associated with the day.