Disablity rights groups call on Cuomo administration

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Adam Prizio


December 22, 2014 –The Center for Disability Rights (CDR) and the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) call on the Cuomo Administration to implement Community First Choice Option (CFC) in New York, and to use funding from CFC to invest in services vital to independent living. “With implementation of CFC, New York has an opportunity to fund services and programs that provide real and meaningful support for people with disabilities to live in the community,” said Bruce Darling, President of CDR. “Even after making the investments we’ve identified, there will still be a lot of CFC funding that the State can apply to other priorities.”

CFC is an optional state funding mechanism that provides additional Federal Medicaid funding for services provided in home and community based settings. New York has decided to select CFC but has not yet implemented it. In a fiscal analysis published last month, NYAIL and CDR estimate that New York will receive a funding enhancement of at least $299 million and up to $439 million, per year.[1] In the first year, the state will receive approximately $149.5 million as programs and services become eligible for the enhanced funding.

“In addition to the money that CFC brings in, transitioning people out of nursing facilities and other institutions saves the State money,” said Stephanie Woodward, CDR’s Director of Advocacy. “It costs a lot less to provide services in the community than it does to provide them in an institution. CFC not only draws down additional Federal funding, it also helps the State reduce the costs associated with unnecessary and expensive institutionalization.”

CDR and NYAIL have published a list of budget priorities for spending some of that enhancement.[2] Those priorities include:

  • Ensuring that consumer-directed personal attendant services are not interrupted by a new overtime rule;
  • Creating and funding a State Office of Community Living, modeled after the Federal Administration on Community Living, to coordinate existing services for us to live in home and community based settings;
  • Increase funding to Independent Living Centers and Area Associations for the Aging, to ensure that these vital organizations are able to help us live, work, and participate in our communities;
  • Provide funding to increase the availability of affordable, accessible, integrated housing;
  • Provide funding to assist people in transitioning out of nursing facilities and into integrated settings; and
  • Provide services and supports to allow New York’s Deaf-Blind population to live in the community.

“CFC funding has the potential to make dramatic, positive changes in how New York provides services to people with disabilities,” said Lindsay Miller, Executive Director of NYAIL, “but to do that, the State has to spend the CFC funding on programs and services that promote community integration and independent living.”

The State will net $50 million in funding after it has funded these proposed budget priorities that the disability community strongly supports. The State’s funding enhancement through CFC is expected to grow to a total of $439 million over the next five years as the State accomplishes the goals of Governor Cuomo’s Olmstead Commission. Implementing CFC and funding these budget priorities are an investment in New York’s fiscal health as well as the rights of people with disabilities to live in our communities.

  1. NYAIL and CDR’s Fiscal Analysis can be found online at: http://ilny.org/programs/cfc-tap/fiscal-analysis
  2. CDR’s Budget Priorities can be found online at: http://cdrnys.org/files/Investing-in-Community-Living.pdf