August 19, 2022
$10M in Grants Made Available for DSP Career Advancement
Governor Hochul announced this week that the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has entered into a $10 million partnership with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) to expand opportunities for professional credentialing for direct support professionals (DSP) throughout the state.

The Arc New York has long sought greater recognition and professionalization of DSP careers. As part of our FY22 NYS budget campaign and ongoing federal advocacy, we championed credentialing as one component in an overall strategy to elevate the perception of DSPs from a job to a lifelong career.

Through this grant opportunity, participating DSPs will be able to advance through the three levels of NADSP Certification and, upon completion, will qualify for up to $2,250 in total bonuses through a tiered bonus structure. Frontline Supervisors that achieve FLS certification are eligible to receive a $1,000 bonus.

NADSP released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for eligible Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) provider organizations to apply for seats in the E-Badge Academy for their staff. NADSP will provide access to approximately 2,442 seats for DSPs and FLSs over the three-year duration of the project. All submissions are due by September 30. Information sessions will be held August 24 and 29.
Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy Awareness Bill Becomes Law
On Wednesday, Governor Hochul signed A.3298A (Epstein)/S.67A (Holyman) into law, which requires that certain information be provided to patients and health care practitioners regarding Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). The Arc New York advocated for this legislation throughout the 2021-22 legislative session. We strongly believe that people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, their families, and caregivers should be fully informed of known risks by medical professionals while discussing their healthcare, treatment, and options. This knowledge becomes a factor when developing a system of supports and services best suited to the individual.

1.2% of the US population have active epilepsy and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are 215,200 individuals with epilepsy in New York state. Studies suggest that each year there are about 1.16 cases of SUDEP for every 1,000 people with epilepsy. Which means approximately 250 New Yorkers die of SUDEP each year. The Arc New York is pleased to see this common-sense legislation become law and thanks all the advocates who gave their time to meet with us and help us become better informed about this important issue. 
The Arc New York Joins Broad Coalition to Support OMIG Reform
The Arc New York joined a coalition of 45 other organizations this week in sending a letter to Governor Hochul encouraging her to sign A.7889-A (Gottfried)/ S.4486-B (Harckham) into law. This follows The Arc New York’s initial letter of support to the governor sent in June.
As noted in our June 17 Advocacy Update, this bill would amend the public health law regarding the functions of the Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) with respect to audit and review of medical assistance program funds, and requiring notice of certain investigations. The legislation is necessary to ensure fairness and balance in the medical assistance audit program, and to provide critical transparency in the auditing process which is lacking today.

Specifically, S.4486-A/A.7889 requires the OMIG to follow common-sense procedures and practices in provider audit or reviews, including the following:
  • Recoveries of overpayments may not be collected until 60 days after the issuance of a final audit report or final notice of agency action. The OMIG must provide a minimum of 10 days written notice to the provider.
  • Contracts, cost reports, claims, bills, or expenditures that were the subject of a previous audit or review within the last 3 years may not be used for a new audit, unless there is new information, for good cause that the previous audit or review was in error, or the new audit or review is significantly different in scope.
  • In conducting audits or reviews, the OMIG shall apply the laws, regulations, policies, guidelines, etc. of the appropriate agency, including those that were in effect on a temporary or emergency basis, that were in place at the time the subject claim arose, or other conduct took place. 
Upcoming Willowbrook Legacy Project Events
The Historical Society of the New York Courts will present a panel discussion September 22, in collaboration with the Willowbrook Legacy Project at the College of Staten Island/CUNY, titled "WILLOWBROOK STATE SCHOOL: How a Lawsuit Closed the Gates to a Notorious Institution and Opened the Doors of Opportunity for Thousands."

A distinguished panel of attorneys who have been involved with this case will discuss the filing of the complaint, the entry of a Consent Judgment, the continuing nature of the litigation and the importance and relevance of Willowbrook today. 
The presentation will take place Thursday, September 22 from 6 – 8 PM, and will be a hybrid event with options for in-person or virtual attendance. You can register here

Visit the Willowbrook Youtube page to see additional presentations in this series.

A save the date has also been released for the ribbon cutting for the Willowbrook Mile on September 17 from 11 AM – 2 PM.
Want to do More?
Visit The Arc New York Advocacy Center for more ways to take action, including campaigns to support federal funding, employment opportunities, and our dedicated workforce. You can also find tools and resources to help you be a stronger advocate for New Yorkers with disabilities.

This and all advocacy updates are archived on The Arc New York website for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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