New York: Developmental Disabilities Services Face the Largest Funding Cuts Ever


nys-albanyAlmost all New York State services for people with developmental disabilities are funded by Medicaid-which means half of the bill is paid by the state, and the other half by federal funds. The federal component is under the control of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Under a long standing agreement with CMS, the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has for many years been permitted to bill Medicaid for more than the actual cost for state-run institutions. Why? Because CMS agreed that the additional revenue would enable OPWDD to move more people out of institutions into the community by building a comprehensive system of support services throughout the state to benefit all New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. The additional revenue was also to be used for certain other state services.

Now CMS wants to terminate this agreement, all of a sudden, on April 1, and to cut $1 billion from NYS’s Medicaid funding. The cut would be spread among OPWDD and other state services. But even so, the OPWDD share of the cut would be enormous. The services would be decimated!

Already, OPWDD services have been cut to the bone by multimillion-dollar reductions over the past several years. Already, families are being told that desperately needed services are not available.

Massive new cuts would force some providers to reduce or close vital programs and to reduce staffing. Staff are the safety net for our people; staff keep them healthy, protect them from danger, and enable them to participate in their communities.

Drastic cuts to Medicaid would destroy services and jeopardize the health, safety, and well-being of the vulnerable people who rely on them.

A decision about how much to cut and how quickly to cut it will be made next week. It is absolutely critical for you to tell President Obama and your Congress members that you strongly oppose drastic cuts to NYS Medicaid that will harm vulnerable people with developmental disabilities.

Call and/or e-mail:

1. Senator Schumer : 1-202-224-6542 Senator Gillibrand : 1-202-224-4451

3.Your Member in the House of Representatives. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 1-202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred to your Congressmember’s Office. If you don’t know who your Member of Congress is, ask the Switchboard Operator to find out. Or go to and fill in your address to get the phone number and e-mail of your representative.

4. President Obama. Call the White House Comment Line at 1-202-456-1111 or the White House Switchboard at 1-202-456-1414.

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