05 Feb Susan Constantino, on behalf of NYDA, testifies at Mental Hygiene Budget Hearing
Non-profit providers of supports to New Yorkers with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) today urged State leaders to invest in the system that serves our most vulnerable residents. The critical role the I/DD sector plays in our health care system was once again ignored in the Executive Budget—leaving these critical services in jeopardy. The I/DD sector is urging State leaders for care, not cuts, as the sector provides critical care, thousands of jobs to individuals, and has long been an economic engine across the State.
New Yorkers with I/DD, and those who serve them, face continued uncertainty due to chronic underfunding of programs as well as services and lack of investment in the workforce. Additional proposed cuts in the Executive Budget for non-for-profit providers, who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, put these critical services at further risk.
“Over the past decade, providers of supports and services to the I/DD community have been asked to do more with less, but now the service delivery system is on the brink of collapse,” said Susan Constantino, President & CEO of Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State. “In order to save this vital system, we are urging the State to reverse budget cuts, invest in our workforce, and reject the deferral of COLA for OPWDD programs. The critical services to individuals with I/DD are in jeopardy, and we need care from our State leaders, not cuts.”
CARE NOT CUTS
From March 1st through October 31st, not-for-profit providers incurred significant financial impacts directly as a result of the pandemic. On top of these unforeseen and unreimbursed expenses, the Executive budget includes crippling cuts for certified residential programs. These cuts, initially effective October 1 have been delayed until May 1, only months away. These actions combined will remove an additional $330 million from the service delivery system, when providers are already besieged with losses and added expenses due to the pandemic.
We are in need of care from our State leaders, and all cuts to the I/DD system must be reversed and funding restored to save as well as sustain the services that provide for New York’s most vulnerable.
NEW YORK NEEDS DSPs
New York needs Direct Support Professionals as they are the foundation of the I/DD care system. Unfortunately, that foundation is crumbling as the pandemic continues, and the current staffing situation is rapidly deteriorating.
To save and invest in our workforce, we are urging the State to:
- Include I/DD providers and DSPs in any workforce development, education, and training initiatives enacted in the budget to address the significant workforce challenges our sector is facing.
- Amend the New York Paid Sick Leave Law to authorize paid sick leave for COVID-19 vaccinations.
COLA CAN’T WAIT
The continued deferral of the statutory Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for over a decade has significantly deprived providers of vital resources needed to maintain operations. The system cannot wait another year—we need investment from the State to sustain the critical services for New Yorkers with I/DD.