NYAIL News Issue 4:
An Advocacy Update, Connecting Consumers, and Preparing for an Emergency.
Advocacy Updates
Unfortunately, the State did not do much to respond to the over 15,000 deaths in nursing homes over the past year due to COVID. We were hoping for major investments in community-based services and in health equity, but this did not happen.

  • Independent Living Centers: The $500,000 proposed cut was restored with an additional $500,000 included, giving the network a modest funding increase. While this is not the amount we were seeking and the ILCs need, it at least is an increase we can build on in the future. Thank you to everyone who helped make the case over the past few months, as always, it makes all the difference!

  • Fair Pay for Home Care: Despite a valiant effort and a lot of progress, Fair Pay for Home Care was not included in the final budget. It was part of negotiations at the highest levels, which we could not have achieved without everyone’s hard work! NYAIL will continue to work with the Caring Majority to advocate for the wage increases for home care workers. Much more to come on the next steps in this fight. Look out for ways to speak out about this disappointing outcome, coming soon. This fight is not over!

  • Medicaid Global Cap: The Medicaid Global Cap was extended for an additional two years. The only provision that changed was reporting on the part of the executive to the legislature will take place quarterly instead of monthly. The legislature has said the reporting will be more extensive, providing the legislature more oversight. However, this additional reporting is not written into the bill. This is another disappointment. However, we were successful in educating the legislature about the Medicaid Global Cap and why it is ultimately harmful to many who rely on Medicaid, especially those relying on long-term supports and services. This is important progress because in past budgets, the spending cap was extended without any real debate. We will continue to raise these concerns with our partners in Medicaid Matters, who took this on and really elevated the issue throughout budget negotiations.

  • Fiscal Intermediary Contracts: A provision was included in the budget directing the Commissioner of Health to reoffer contracts to applicants under the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA) program to Fiscal Intermediaries (FIs) who meet certain criteria. Since Independent Living helped create CDPA in New York and are consumer-lead, unlike most all other FIs, maintaining ILCs as FIs is integral to the integrity of CDPA. More ILCs will now have the opportunity to contract with the state.

  • NHTD and TBI Medicaid Waivers: The Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Medicaid Waivers, which were supposed to be folded into managed care, will remain carved out of managed care until 2026.

  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP): LTCOP received a modest increase of $250,000. While it is good the State increased funding for this important program, this increase is not sufficient to come close to where the State needs to be to serve the current population of people in long-term care facilities across the State.

Connecting Consumers to the Internet
More services are being delivered virtually, but many low-income New Yorkers, including people with disabilities, are left behind because of the costs of accessing the internet from home. New programs are coming soon to help address the lack of access and New York's Public Service Commission is now charged with studying the availability, reliability and cost of high-speed internet and broadband services to close service gaps.
Enrollment opens on May 12th for the national Emergency Broadband Benefit program. The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting getemergencybroadband.org.

If a recent legal challenge fails, most internet service providers will be required to start offering to low-income New Yorkers discounted internet service starting in June at $15 per month and going up to $20 for a higher speed plan. To qualify for the plans, New Yorkers will have to show that they’re receiving some form of public assistance or an existing affordability benefit from a utility provider. 

ILC Spotlight
Highlighting the important work of New York's ILCs.
Preparing for an Emergency with RCIL: Ensuring Central New Yorkers With Paralysis Are Ready for Anything
The Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL) has received a grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to create an online emergency preparedness resource to help individuals living with paralysis plan and prepare for the emergencies that are most likely to occur locally; in the New York counties of Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, and Schoharie.

A working group has been established that meets virtually, but RCIL is still seeking input/participation by individuals living with paralysis, as well as their families and/or caregivers.

If you are interested in participating or learning more about this project, please call 1-800-627-2981 and ask to speak with Donna Gillette. You can also email Donna at dgillette@rcil.com.

For the purposes of this project, paralysis is defined functionally, as: "difficulty and/or inability to use arms and/or legs due to neurological conditions including but not limited to spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, ALS, etc."
The New York Association on Independent Living administers several statewide and regional programs in collaboration with its member ILCs, all of which are focused on helping people with disabilities live independently in the community.

Learn more about NYAIL programs by visiting: ilny.us/programs 
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Contact Us
Newsletter ideas can be sent to athompson@ilny.org for consideration.
Lindsay Miller
Executive Director 
Meghan Parker
Director of Advocacy  
Aurie Mercer
Office Manager
Email: info@ilny.org
New York Association on Independent Living
155 Washington Ave., Suite 208
Albany, NY 12210
Phone 518.465.4650 Fax 518.465.4625