NYSARC joined 25 other organizations in signing a letter to the New York Congressional delegation opposing the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The letter states: “The Senate bill retains the American Health Care Act’s dramatic cuts to the Medicaid program through the proposed per capita cap, lowering the cap even further in the out years, and targets high-cost states like ours specifically for further reductions.”
NYSARC, in collaboration with the New York State Association of Community & Residential Agencies and the New York State Rehabilitation Association, recently hosted the fourth annual Community Integration Leadership Institute. The keynote speaker, Deborah Bachrach, former state Medicaid Director, discussed how the per capita caps in the American Health Care Act could result in the state losing $44 billion in federal funding. Since the per capita cap will be based on the 2016 Medicaid Budget, anything added in 2017, such as the increase in DSP wages the chapter fought for, will not be factored in.
Heather Bump, a self-advocate from the NYSARC network, shared her experience advocating on both the federal and state level in an essay. She visited Member of Congress on Capitol Hill as part of the Disability Policy Seminar to advocate against the American Health Care Act. On the state level, she was active with the #bFair2DirectCare Coalition, writing letters, signing petitions, marching, making phone calls, and meeting directly with elected officials.
The Staten Island Advance recently published a letter to the editor from NYSARC’s President, Laura Kennedy. Kennedy wrote: “The defeat of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is only a short-term victory in a war far from over. We must continue to preserve and support the lifeline that tens of thousands of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers rely on . . . Medicaid. Cutting Medicaid would be catastrophic for people with disabilities and their families.”
NYSARC, as part of the bFair2DirectCare coalition, recently secured a major victory in their fight to increase DSP wages throughout the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo raised his right hand and said: “this hand will not sign a budget unless there is $55 million in it [for DSP wage increases]!” Both Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan voiced their support for the proposal. Under the proposal, DSPs currently earning less than minimum wage scheduled to take effect over the next two years will have their pay increased to and receive an additional 3.25% increase in 2018. DSPs earning above minimum wage will receive a 6.5% increase over the next two years. This is a major victory for NYSARC and the #bFair2DirectCare movement that has long been advocating for a $45 million funding increase. Learn more about the campaign on NYSARC’s website. Follow the coalition on Facebook and Twitter.
NYARC has continued to advocate for an additional $45 million to fund a DSP wage increase. The chapter’s most recent advocacy efforts in this area included a press conference at the State Capitol, a radio interview with NYSARC President Laura Kennedy on the Capitol Pressroom, and a sit-in outside Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office. During her interview, Kennedy stated: “Unless we get the funding to even just stabilize the staff right now, we’re going to have some very very ugly situations.”
NYSARC, as part of the #befair2directcare coalition, continues to advocates for an increase in DSP wages. The chapter has recently released a video explaining the need for a DSP wage increase from the perspective of DSPs and self-advocates and Steve Kroll, the chapter’s Executive Director, was recently interviewed on Capitol Pressroom discussing the coalition’s advocacy work and the devastating impact the failure to increase DSP wages has on people with I/DD throughout the state.
NYSARC, as part of the #bFair2DirectCare Coalition, criticized Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision not to include $45 million for a living wage increase for DSPs in his budget and his proposal to eliminate the statutory cost of living adjustment. Current wages leave many DSPs eligible for food stamps.
NYSARC and other like-minded organizations held a rally in Schenectady, NY on August 24 to advocate for fair wages for direct support professionals (DSP). State Assembly Member Angelo Santabarbara emceed the rally, which was attended by developmental disability agency leaders, local legislators, DSPs, self-advocates, and their families. The event was organized as part of the #bFair2DirectCare Coalition’s “300 Days to Better Pay” campaign. Learn more about the campaign on NYSARC’s website. Follow the coalition on Facebook and Twitter.
Executive Director Steven Kroll was recently quoted in an article in Politico entitled: “Developmentally Disabled New Yorkers Face Residential Crunch.” The article highlights the severe shortage of community- based residential placements in New York State and the crisis facing aging caregivers of individuals with I/DD who are unable to help transition their children with I/DD to appropriate placements before they die.