December 16, 2022
Governor Vetoes OMIG Reform Bill
Last week, Governor Hochul vetoed S.4486-A/A.7889, which requires the Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) to follow common-sense procedures and practices in provider audit or reviews. Specifically, the bill amends the public health law regarding the functions of the OMIG with respect to audit and review of medical assistance program funds and requiring notice of certain investigations.

In June, The Arc New York’s Chief Executive Officer Erik Geizer sent a letter to Governor Hochul, urging her to sign the legislation into law. 

In her veto message, the governor offered several steps to address the concerns that underlie this bill, including directing the OMIG to:

  • Engage the healthcare provider community and Medicaid stakeholders to solicit input on the concerns raised in this bill.
  • Perform a comprehensive review of the agency's program integrity processes and identify areas for improvement.
  • Commit to conducting program integrity activities in a responsible manner that includes consideration of financial impacts on providers and assures continuity of care for Medicaid recipients.
  • Assess opportunities to include additional reporting elements in the agency's Annual Report as outlined in the bill, including requests by providers for financial hardship and a narrative on the impacts of enforcement actions.

The Arc New York will continue to pursue these and other avenues to restore common sense practices and principles to audits for providers.

2023 Joint Legislative & Advocacy Forum
The Arc New York and The New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation are excited to share that our 2023 Joint Legislative & Advocacy Forum will take place in-person on February 13 & 14, 2023 at The Hart Lounge of The Egg in the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY. Register for the forum here.

The annual Joint Legislative & Advocacy Forum provides access to information on the 2023-24 Executive Budget proposal, upcoming legislation, advocacy strategies, and opportunities to engage leadership in the Senate and Assembly.

Parents and family members, self-advocates, direct support professionals, not-for-profit agencies and other stakeholders will hear from presenters across a wide range of timely topics, reflecting the importance for us to be a strong voice in Albany this year and beyond.

The first day of the forum will coincide with a New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) rally in the War Room of the Capitol at 11:30 AM. Please indicate whether you plan on attending the rally so we are able determine logistics for the rally and the forum. 

We encourage participants to schedule meetings with legislators at the capitol and online following the close of the session on the 14th. Join us in Albany and be part of our advocacy day!
Take Action on The Arc New York Budget Priorities
Our budget advocacy campaign continues to gain strength and participation from our grassroots network. If you haven't yet sent a letter to your representative or would like to send another, our one-click campaign gives you the chance to easily call on your elected officials to invest in supports and services and this one-page information sheet will support you in sharing our need and our asks. Don’t forget to share on social media so others may add their voice!

The Arc New York and our NYDA partners are calling for:
  • Establishment of a Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE)
  • Inclusion of the statutory 8.5% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

Under the DSWE provider agencies will receive $4,000 per eligible employee to be used for the purpose of enhancing the hourly pay for all staff that have direct care/support responsibilities for individuals with I/DD. This wage enhancement will enable provider agencies to raise wages by approximately $2.19 per hour.

The annual COLA is intended to increase budgets appropriately to adjust for inflation and rising costs. In the past decade, inflation rose 27%, yet providers of supports and services received only a 1.2% COLA. A 5.4% COLA was committed in the 2022-23 budget, but this promised increase does not compensate for a decade of underfunding. Upholding the COLA will support the increased cost of delivering quality services and sustain supports for the future.

We'll keep you apprised of more opportunities to voice your support for New Yorkers with I/DD throughout the budget season!

End of Year Federal Action Alert and Advocacy Tools
Congress is working on its end-of-the year package and The Arc is advocating for them to include key issues for people with disabilities and their families, specifically:

  • Increasing the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) asset limit so people with disabilities can save and not be forced to live in poverty.
  • Permanently funding the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program to support people with disabilities and seniors with moving back home after time in a congregate setting.
  • Stopping the torture of people with disabilities using shock devices at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts.

Please help to advocate for these critical issues by participating in and sharing this action alert with your networks. Because time is of the essence, phone calls are especially impactful!
The Arc has also put together sample social media, fact sheets, and other materials in this toolkit (under the End of Year priority folder).

Thank you for all of your efforts and please don’t hesitate to reach out to Philip Aydinian with any questions.  

State of the State Date Announced
Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the 2023 State of the State Address will take place on Tuesday, January 10 at 1:00 PM in the New York State Assembly Chamber in Albany. The address will be separate from the Executive Budget presentation, which is expected to be released at the end of January.

We will update you on further details on the Governor’s State of the State Address as they become available.
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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