Urgent: Contact Senator Schumer and Tell Him to Support HCBS!
On Tuesday, it was announced that President Biden, Senator Schumer and other senate leaders had come to an agreement on a $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which would pave the way for historic investments in home and community based services (HCBS).
Unfortunately, we just received word that the previous HCBS funding proposal could be cut from $400 billion to $150 billion! We are calling upon you to Tweet, email, and call Senate Majority Leader Schumer to let him know that people with disabilities and our direct care workforce cannot be overlooked for this historic investment. He is our senator and we must lead this fight!
Voice this call to Senator Schumer today! We've shared draft messages and links below to help you
Tweet Senator Schumer
@SenSchumer Pls Ensure that all $400B proposed by Pres Biden is included in the reconciliation package for Home & Community Based Services. New Yorkers with disabilities and direct care workers are depending on this investment. Our workforce is at a crisis point! #CareCantWait
Share the Facebook and Online Campaign
Make a call!
Phone numbers for all of Senator Schumer’s offices, including regional, can be found here. Please pick up the phone and flood his office with calls.
Dear Sen. Schumer,
Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) are key to ensuring people with disabilities are included in the community, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a long-standing crisis in recruiting/retaining direct care workers. Senator Schumer, please ensure that all $400B proposed by President Biden is included in the reconciliation package.
This is a once in a generation opportunity to invest in our care economy infrastructure and New York needs you to stand firm and advocate for us!
We are counting on The Arc New York’s network of advocates to rally together and make our voices heard on this very important issue.
I/DD Workforce Emergency Whitepaper
New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) released a whitepaper outlining the escalating workforce crisis facing I/DD providers in New York state, and recommending solutions to stabilize and strengthen the workforce moving forward. The Arc New York was heavily involved in the message development, and data analysis, and solutions proposed in the whitepaper, as well as the NYDA Workforce Summit that formed the basis for discussion. We continue to work in partnership with NYDA to advocate for our dedicated staff, and their foundational role in sustainable system of supports and services.
A few sobering statistics from the paper that highlight this dire workforce emergency can be found below:
- The statewide vacancy rate for DSPs escalated by 74% over the past two years
- 25% of these essential DSP positions are currently vacant across the state
- 93% of providers saw a reduction in job applicants in the first quarter of 2021
- 40% of providers were unable to open programs due to staffing shortages during Q1 2021
- 48% of providers were forced to close programs or reduce operations during Q1 2021 because they lacked the staff to sustain them
- Most recently, senior and administrative staff at 69% of providers were pulled from their leadership responsibilities to cover direct support shifts
The goal of the paper is to provide context and constructive recommendations to policy makers on how to tackle the current workforce emergency. Strategies for employee recruitment and retention of employees include, among others: the establishment of a living wage, career ladders, tax credits, and educational opportunities. Ideas for fiscal and regulatory relief are also proposed to alleviate the crisis.
NYSDOH Releases ARPA Spending Plan
Last week, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) released its spending plan for implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, Section 9817. While the document requires further analysis, early indications point to a considerable investment in the workforce and home and community based services (HCBS). Over the past several months, The Arc New York has been integral in advocating for workforce investment using ARPA funds. As a result, DOH has asserted they are:
- Supporting and Strengthening the Direct Care Workforce;
- Building HCBS Capacity through Innovations and Systems Transformation; and
- Investing in Digital Infrastructure
OPWDD sent a press release
, stating that federal funds will be used for:
- Improving the OPWDD workforce and the challenges of high turnover and staffing shortages by investing in workforce performance incentives, an IDD Workforce Longevity and Retention Bonus, DSP workforce development grants, and a Workforce Recruitment Initiative
- Expanding community residential opportunities through an integrated housing pilot program and providing incentives for the development of more integrated residential services
- Expanding crisis services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through the expansion of the new CSIDD program into all areas of the state
- Modernizing the OPWDD IT Infrastructure to allow for the expanded use of electronic services
OPWDD "5/1" Residential Cuts Adopted
On Wednesday, The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the Department of Health (DOH) published the adoption of the proposed residential cuts in the state register, effective May 1, 2021. Along with the adoption, they included responses to frequently posed comments and questions from providers, families, self-advocates, and allies.
In December, The Arc New York submitted comments on the impact of these cuts and recommendations to streamline I/DD supports and services, providing cost savings to the state, while ensuring maximum flexibility and high-quality services. While we are deeply disappointed about this outcome, we continue to discuss the validity of these cuts under the HCBS FMAP guidelines, and to advocate for new opportunities, investments, and overall improvements to service delivery.