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Take Action

Join ACLD in advocating for children and adults with autism, learning and developmental disabilities. Together we can fight harmful budget cuts and service transformations that may impact how we fulfill our mission.

June 6, 2020

Help fight DRASTIC cuts in OPWDD Funding before July 1st!

On May 27, 2020, the Department of Health published a public notice proposing cuts in reimbursement for IRA and ICF residential programs which would:

  • Take about $200 million every year from our loved ones with I/DD
  • Reduce reimbursement by as much as 7.5% for certain residential programs with significant vacancies, including vacancies due to deaths from COVID-19
  • Eliminate the occupancy adjustment resulting from vacancies
  • Slash reimbursement by 50% for retainer days when residents are in the hospital or are taking therapeutic leave days for family visits
  • Finally, after cutting reimbursement by 50% for leave days, the proposal also would impose an annual “cap” of 96 days of therapeutic leave days, after which reimbursement would be reduced to zero.

If you would like to write your own letter in opposition to the vacancy rate cuts, we have provided some context below for how the proposed cuts would affect service to people with I/DD.

Tips for writing your letter:

  • Identify yourself

Say why you are writing and who you are. List your credentials, your relationship to the I/DD field, and state that you are a constituent. It also doesn’t hurt to mention if you voted for or donated to them.

  • Personalize

Tell your elected official why this legislation matters to you and the people you know. If you have one, include a personal story that shows how this issue affects you and your family.

  • Be emotional and factual

Provide detail without exaggeration about how the vacancy rate cuts would affect you and others.

  • Close with a request

Close by requesting the action you want to be taken. Ask that the state do away with cuts to the vacancy rates and find savings elsewhere.

Talking points

The proposed vacancy rate cuts in reimbursement for IRA and ICF residential programs would:

  • Take about $200 million every year from our loved ones with I/DD.
  • The proposed cuts will severely limit funding for individuals simply because they require hospitalization due to medical or psychiatric illness or choose to take a therapeutic leave to spend time with family members.
  • Reduce reimbursement by as much as 7.5% for certain residential programs with significant vacancies, including vacancies due to deaths from COVID-19.
  • Disproportionately harm individuals with serious medical or psychiatric conditions, as they spend more time away from a residence and therefore create more “empty beds.”
  • Drastically cut funding to providers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, after providers were seemingly abandoned to the point of having to purchase their own personal protective equipment.
  • Come at a time when voluntary providers are already owed funding from the state. The proposed cuts will directly offset rate enhancements previously provided by the NYS Legislature in 2019. The Legislature approved two 2% salary enhancements for direct care and clinical staff working in OPWDD residential programs – one increase to be implemented on January 1, 2020, and the second on April 1, 2020.  Neither has been implemented as of this date but remain “under review” with the Division of the Budget.

Adapted from Cerebral Palsy Association of NYS and New York Disability Advocates (NYDA)


May 15, 2020


Act Today!

The House is expected to vote on the HEROES Act today, its latest COVID-19 legislative package which contains significant provisions to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the providers who support them.

Today contact  your member of Congress and tell them to vote YES on this legislation because it contains provisions essential to protecting people with I/DD during this pandemic. To find your member of Congress please visit: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

On Tuesday, House Democrats released the HEROES Act, their proposal for the long-anticipated fourth COVID-19 relief package. This is the opening round in negotiations with the Senate and White House for the fourth package and we anticipate the final package will look different from this proposal. However, the HEROES Act contains provisions that will be enormously helpful to people with I/DD and the Medicaid-funded I/DD services that support them, and will serve as Democrats’ framework for deciding what to support in the final legislation that is taken up by the House and the Senate.

Now is the time to show support for the HEROES Act provisions. The disability support-related provisions in the HEROES Act include:

  1. A 10 percent increase in the Medicaid match rate (FMAP) specifically for the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program.
  2. Explicitly defining Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) as essential workers.
  3. An additional $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, and a specific provision to list HCBS providers among the entities eligible for the funding.
  4. A “Heroes Fund,” which would fund hazard pay for DSPs up to $13 per hour in addition to current wages.

The House is expected to vote on this bill on Friday, so time is of the essence. Thank you.

Adapted from ANCHOR (American Network of Community Options & Resources)