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Local News

March 9, 2013

Providers for disabled fight cuts

Three voluntary providers of services to more than 1,300 people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities face budget cuts in a recent state budget proposal.

The proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would cut $120 million in Medicaid funds to the state Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.

If that is included in the final state budget, due April 1, it will signal a 6 percent across-the-board cut in Medicaid reimbursements to ARC Otsego, Pathfinder Village and Springbrook, officials from those providers recently said.

State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, who was among legislators who met with the officials last week to discuss the cuts, said action to restore the funds will be started next week, with the Assembly considering similar action in its budget. He said he was hopeful Cuomo would agree.

These cuts are sudden because of Medicaid overpayments to state facilities, he said.

“We are talking about services to the most vulnerable in our society,” he said.

Not only is restoring the cuts manageable in a $136 billion budget, but it’s very important for economic reasons as well, he added. 

The three providers employ more than 1,500 people, with Springbrook employing more than 1,000.

Paul C. Landers, president and chief executive officer at Pathfinder Village, said the cuts and unfunded mandates will cost his organization $300,000. Pathfinder provides services to people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. Most live on its Edmeston campus.

Landers said he was still

analyzing the possible effects but said it 110 individuals would feel them. He said he was hopeful the cuts could be avoided.

Advocates for the residents say they, too, have spoken with elected representatives, who have been very supportive as well.

“The state gets a good deal by working with us,” Landers said. Steps have been taken to improve efficiencies to meet cuts during the last several years.

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