Dear Friends and Colleagues:
I am pleased to announce that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed 2016-17 Executive Budget supports the many actions the Governor has taken over the years to ensure the continued health and safety of individuals with developmental disabilities, and to improve the overall quality and availability of community-based, person-centered opportunities.
The Governor’s budget grows spending on OPWDD provided supports and services to over $4.2 billion in the coming fiscal year, which is an increase of $175 million, or 4.3 percent, over last year.
Over the past 18 months, OPWDD has been able to offer new or expanded community service opportunities to people with disabilities and their families. Specifically, OPWDD has provided certified, community-based residential supports to 2,600 new people who required a more supportive living environment, offered 3,800 people the opportunity to receive employment supports, helped 2,300 new people to self-direct their services, expanded respite services to 5,500 people who were new to that service option and enrolled 6,400 new people in day services.
In this fiscal year we will continue to build on those accomplishments by providing new resources to develop needed supports and services, including residential, day and respite opportunities, as well as expand the types of opportunities available. The new resources will be used to:
– Develop New Service Opportunities. The budget supports up to 6,000 new or expanded services opportunities including certified and non-certified residential opportunities, day programs, employment, case management and respite. These new opportunities will support people currently living at home whose needs have changed, including needs identified in OPWDD’s recent Residential Request List survey. These resources are in addition to separate investments that support people transitioning from institutional settings.
– Implement the Recommendationsof the Transformation Panel. The Transformation Panel was formed in 2015 to help shape the future of the OPWDD system. Their recommendations will inform the strategies OPWDD implements to enhance service delivery.
– Help Individuals Transition to Community-Based Settings. The Executive budget reinvests $24 million to support 152 people expected to transition from developmental centers and intermediate care facilities to more integrated, community-based supports.
– Expand the Availability of Crisis Services. OPWDD has successfully implemented START programs in two regions of the state and will receive $15 million to expand START services to other regions.
– Fund Affordable Housing Projects. OPWDD will receive $15 million to develop new affordable housing opportunities to ensure the availability of safe and accessible residential opportunities and provide capacity for people to live in their community of choice.
– Provide Inflationary Increases. The Governor’s budget includes funding to support a cost-of-living adjustment and Medicaid trend to increase reimbursement levels of non-profit providers.
I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership and support as we continue to restructure and enhance our service delivery system.
Kerry A. Delaney
P.S. Communication is critical to our collective success, and OPWDD’s Facebook page is a great place for individuals, family members, employees, advocates, and other stakeholders to exchange thoughts and ideas. Please feel free to join the conversation.