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June 19, 2013

Senate bill drops cuts to disability funding

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — The state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that will protect service providers for the developmentally disabled from state funding cuts, according to a media release from Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, a co-sponsor of the legislation.

It would appropriate up to $90 million to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to protect providers from funding reductions if recommended savings measures fall short of projections. Having been passed by the Assembly, it will go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signing.

The final state budget restored one-quarter of the $240 million in cuts to the agency proposed by Cuomo. In addition, it created a workgroup to identify alternatives to minimize the impact of the cuts. The plan included using funds from Medicaid fraud recoveries, implementing less costly approaches to treatment, and ensuring that Medicaid is the payer of last resort.

Under the legislation, should the savings fall short of the amount expected to be achieved from the workgroup, the state would transfer sufficient funds to OPWDD to make up for the shortfall. The agency commissioner may also take into account greater efficiencies which do not diminish or impair services or the quality of care as reflected in the recommendations of the workgroup, according to the release.

“This new agreement will ensure that developmentally disabled New Yorkers and their families will continue to receive the quality care and support they depend on to make it through the day, while progressing toward long-term goals,” Seward said.