Op-Ed Articles Highlighting the Workforce Crisis
Two significant editorial pieces brought attention to the dire workforce crisis facing voluntary providers of intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) supports and services this week. In the Syracuse Post Standard, The Arc New York Board President Jack Kowalczyk expressed that “we need robust investment in programs to support worker recruitment and retention, funding for a living wage, and a long-term funding reimbursement structure that keeps pace with rising costs. Without immediate action, these critical life-saving services will continue to close and our families and neighbors receiving care will pay the price.”
An opinion piece published in Newsday by Bob McGuire, Executive Director of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County noted, “Nonprofit provider organizations simply cannot continue to offer the same level of services with significantly reduced staff, and indeed nearly half of New York’s provider organizations have had to close programs or reduce operations as a result.”
Both called on Governor Kathy Hochul to address this crisis immediately before additional staff leave for other opportunities and more programs are forced to close as a result.
The Arc New York Letter of Support to Hochul on Special Education Funding
This week, The Arc New York’s CEO Erik Geizer sent a letter to Governor Hochul strongly supporting S.6516-A (Mannion)/A.8013 (Benedetto), which amends the Education Law to establish a tuition methodology for 4410 special education preschools and 853 special education schools to provide annual growth commensurate with that of public school district foundation aid. This legislation has passed both the NYS Senate and Assembly and is awaiting the governor’s signature.
In the letter Geizer noted, " . . . these [4410/853] educational institutions have historically and inequitably been underfunded, which has caused teachers to be underpaid for their contributions, and makes it increasingly difficult to attract and retain these valuable and critical educators. Students and children with intellectual and other developmental disabilities deserve the same level of funding afforded to all other children in New York.”
Dr. Mary T. Bassett Appointed as Department of Health Commissioner
On Wednesday, Governor Hochul appointed Dr. Mary T. Bassett as the new Commissioner of the Department of Health. Dr. Bassett's career has spanned academia, government, and not-for-profit work. Her appointment is effective December 1. She previously served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 2014-2018. She received a B.A. in History and Science from Harvard University, an M.D. from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons (serving her residency at Harlem Hospital), and an M.P.H. from the University of Washington. The full press release and additional details can be found here.
CMS Webinar: Supporting Adults with I/DD and Their Aging Caregivers
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) invites you to attend an upcoming webinar on Tuesday, October 12 from 1:00 – 2:30 PM, to advance learning and recommendations from the June 2021 Supporting Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and Their Aging Caregivers Summit. The webinar will focus on strategies for state Medicaid agencies and their partner agencies to improve the delivery of supports and services for adults with I/DD and their aging caregivers. Previous participation in the June 2021 summit is not required. Learn more and register here.
The Arc US Webinar: #FreeBritney
The conversation about guardianship has received significant attention over the past year due to Britney Spears’ public battle over her conservatorship. Guardianship is not without its challenges, but The Arc New York is committed to options and opportunities for individuals and families.
The Arc US will hold a webinar Tuesday October 5 at 2 PM, titled #FreeBritney: Lessons for People with I/DD and Their Families. The webinar seeks to highlight some of the broader challenges that people with disabilities face under guardianship. It will describe some of the issues being highlighted in the media from Ms. Spears’ case, how they might apply to people with I/DD, and alternative approaches that individuals with I/DD and their families might consider. Although the content and conclusions made during the webinar might contradict our position on guardianship, we felt it was important for others to hear alternate perspectives. You can register for the webinar here.
Report: New York’s Minimum Wage Increase Schedule for 2022
The NYS Division of the Budget (DOB) released their recommendations for minimum wage increases across the state. The report noted a minimum wage rise to $13.20 for the Upstate area and $15 in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties in 2022. The increase in downstate counties would align them with minimum wage in New York City and large fast-food companies statewide. The full report, including methodology and tables can be found here.