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Groups Launch #SaveCDPA Coalition to Preserve Program for New Yorkers with Special Needs

Groups Launch #SaveCDPA Coalition to Preserve Program for New Yorkers with Special Needs

Local officials, organizations, and families are coming together to preserve funding for CDPAP, which helps individuals with special needs receive care from family members.

More than a dozen New York organizations committed to preserving the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, a Medicaid program that allows individuals with special needs receive care from family members, on the morning of Oct. 23. Right now, the Department of Health is considering a $150 million budget cut that would result in drastically reduced wages and the elimination of overtime and other benefits for the 100,000 caregivers the program employs. This would reduce the quality of life of the 75,000 senior and disabled New Yorkers that rely on CDPAP for independence. 

Participating organizations–which include Center for Elder Law & Justice, Medicare Rights Center, New York State Independent Living Council, and New York Association on Independent Living–announced the formation of the #SaveCDPA coalition at a press conference led by the CDPA Association of New York State (CDPAANYS). These organizations and several more are calling on the DOH to identify ways to achieve savings without harming the program–without enacting that $150 million cut.

Another issue lies in a recent attempt to change the structure of how fiscal intermediary agencies are reimbursed for paying CDPAP caregivers. The DOH recently tried to determine a new rate structure for FIs that equated to an 80% reduction in FI administrative budgets–immediately forcing the intermediaries to cut wages and overtime for personal assistants. This would pose a threat to the quality of care caregivers could provide.

On Oct. 11, Albany County Supreme Court Judge Christina Ryba ruled against this new structure in a suit that challenged its methodologies. The #SaveCDPA coalition argues the rate structure was “not based on data and far exceeded DOH’s assumptions of what it costs to run the program,” a release states.

The executive director of CDPAANYS, Bryan O’Malley, underlined the importance of the coalition and working with the DOH to preserve the program.

“The court’s decision today was an important first step in protecting services for the tens of thousands of senior and disabled New Yorkers who rely on the CDPA program,” he said. “As they go back to the drawing board, CDPAANYS and the #SaveCDPA coalition are ready and willing to work with the DOH to come up with real solutions that will save money without impacting consumers’ services and workers’ wages, especially when New York is already in a homecare crisis.”

Officials shared their support of the coalition’s goal and the importance of CDPAP.

"Many people with developmental disabilities and mental health issues depend on the CDPAP, which is why funding is critical. This program allows people to be in charge of their own care and gain independence,” said Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester), Chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. “Cuts in funding to this program will be disastrous, which is why we must all stand together in one collective voice in support of the CDPAP.”

Follow #SaveCDPA on social media for updates on the coalition, rulings, advocacy, and further action.

Main Image: The Slomba family–Nancy, Ben, and Joe–from Rochester. Ben supports Nancy and Joe with the money he receives from CDPAP. According to CDPAANYS, when the FI budget cut went into effect into September, Ben was notified that he could no longer bill overtime, meaning he would either not be paid for the 50+ hours a week in overtime he cared for Joe, or the family would need to hire other unfamiliar caregivers to fill those hours for Joe. Courtesy CDPAANYS.

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. See More

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