Affiliate Update 2016

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5-4-16 CP News

5/4/2016 9:21:00 AM

 Click HERE to view the 5/4/16 CP News on the web.

Volume #21 – Issue #5


To complement our advocacy on education issues, we ask Affiliates to help make sure that Governor Cuomo will support children in both 4410 and 853 special education schools.

On April 15, the State Education Department requested that Governor Cuomo’s Division of the Budget (DOB) provide a 4% increase for both 4410 preschool special education and 853 school-age programs. Governor Cuomo will decide what DOB will approve.  If prior years are any indication, the Governor will provide the 4% increase for 853 schools but not for 4410 schools.

CP of NYS Affiliates provide special education services to preschool children ages 3-5 (known as 4410 schools) and school-age students ages 5-21 years (known as 853 schools) for their local school districts. 4410 and 853 schools are approved private schools that serve students whose local school districts and BOCES are unable to serve them because of their disability. Although our schools educate New York’s many students with the most severe disabilities, the tuition rates are not adequate to meet this challenge.  While public school Education Aid spending has increased at a rate of at least 3%-4% every year, the students with disabilities who attend these 853 and 4410 schools have been denied similar increases. As a result, our 853s and 4410s are finding that they are increasingly unable to meet the rising operating costs and are unable to pay our teachers, who must meet the same requirements as public school teachers, anywhere near what a local school district pays. Staff retention is extremely difficult for 853 and 4410 schools.

The rates for 4410 approved preschool special education programs have only received a 2% increase over the past six years. Increasingly, this has begun to affect the quality and availability of programs throughout the state, with recent closures of programs serving these young children.

Contact Governor Cuomo and urge him to approve the SED's recommendation for a 4% tuition increase for all 4410 preschools and 853 school-age programs. Call the Governor's office at (518) 474-1041 and press "3" to speak with an assistant or to email the Governor, please click here.

Barbara Crosier


In response to concerns from families, caregivers, non-profits, community organizations, and individuals with developmental disabilities, Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb has created the Assembly Minority Task Force on Protecting the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities.
The Task Force is holding a series of forums across the state seeking testimony from stakeholders including mental health experts, families, non-profit organizations and community leaders.
Upcoming dates include:

  • Thursday, May 12 from noon to 2 pm - Village of Lowville Office Building, 5535 Bostwick St., Lowville, NY
  • Thursday, May 19 from noon to 2 pm - Town of Perinton Town Hall, Room 204 A/B, 1350 Turk Hill Road, Fairport, NY
  • Thursday, May 26 from 5 to 7 pm - Museum of disABILITY, 3826 Main St., Buffalo, NY

If you are unable to attend and would like to provide input to the Assembly Republicans, please contact the Assembly Minority Office of Public Affairs at 518-455-5073 or email [email protected].

Barbara Crosier

New York State is implementing ambitious new health care payment and delivery system changes, Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP), which will impact how the State's over six million Medicaid beneficiaries access health care services and how they experience care. All New Yorkers deserve access to high-quality care and the chance to experience good outcomes, including Medicaid beneficiaries. These significant changes, however, may disengage Medicaid beneficiaries from care if community-based organizations (CBOs) are not included in a meaningful way. Safety net providers and CBOs are rooted in low-income, underserved communities and have a trusted history of service to Medicaid beneficiaries.
Therefore, Medicaid Matters New York (MMNY), of which CP of NYS is an active member, is conducting a survey to assess the degree to which community based organizations (CBOs) are engaged in DSRIP. MMNY will use the results to help assess the needs around the state for advancing community interests in local DSRIP regions and will allow all of us to conduct state level advocacy to ensure that the DSRIP process engages CBOs in ways that recognizes their strengths and addresses barriers to their participation.  MMNY is seeking the perspective of community-based entities of any type from across New York State. Results of this survey will be shared only in the aggregate; individual responses to this survey will not be shared.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey at your earliest convenience.  You can find a link to the survey on the Payment and Delivery System Reform page of the MMNY website at

Thank you for your assistance in helping us gather this valuable information.
More information on initiatives related to these changes can be found at the following links.

Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program -
Value Based Payment (VBP) -
Barbara Crosier

QA & Corporate Compliance Challenges 2016
Quality & Compliance Challenges 2016, the 9th Annual Conference for Providers Serving People with Disabilities, attracted nearly 200 attendees from across the state to Saratoga Springs on April 27.

The corporate compliance conference is presented each year by CP of NYS and NYSARC, Inc., and was sponsored this year by Barclay Damon, LLP; Irwin Siegel Agency, Inc.; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; and O’Connell & Aronowitz.

The morning session began at 8:45 with opening remarks by Steven Kroll, Executive Director, NYSARC, Inc. Mr. Kroll then introduced the first session speakers,  Mary Kay Rizzolo, the President and CEO of The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and Cathy Ficker Terrill, the Senior Advisor for CQL. Their 90-minute presentation was entitled CQL and HCBS Settings: Preparing for the New Standards.

The morning concluded with a session entitled, Core Competencies for DSPs: Compliance and Quality Consideration, presented by Perry Samowitz, from the Regional Centers for Workforce Transformation, NYSRA.

The afternoon began with Audits, Investigations and Self-Disclosures, Oh My!, presented by Robert Hussar, Counsel, Barclay, Damon, LLP.  The day concluded with Troubleshooting OPWDD and Justice Center Incidents and Investigations, with Leslie Fuld, Director, Incident Management Unit, NYS OPWDD, and Tammy Devine, Assistant Director, Incident Management Unit, NYS OPWDD.

Printed versions of the day’s presentations are available here.

Mary Kay Rizzolo (left) and Cathy Ficker Terrill

Al Shibley


OPWDD Acting Commissioner Kerry Delaney recently announced changes at the agency.
In the Commissioner’s Office, Helene DeSanto will serve as Acting Executive Deputy Commissioner, and Deborah Franchini has been appointed to a newly created position, Director of Agency Planning and Coordination.
Additionally, the Division of Service Delivery will now have two Deputy Commissioners, one will focus on Regional Operations and one on State Operations and Statewide Services. Megan O’Connor-Hebert has been appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Service Delivery - Regional Offices. Jill Pettinger, Psy.D will serve as Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Service Delivery - State Operations and Statewide Services. Tamika Black will serve as Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Quality Improvement while a formal search for that position is conducted.  
Copies of the new agency Organizational Chart are available on the OPWDD website.
Al Shibley


Robert G. Norris, a former Deputy Commissioner of OMRDD, now OPWDD, has been named to the Board of Directors of CP of NYS.

Mr. Norris has served as a consultant to health care providers and human service organizations serving people with special needs since 2007. His most recent project involved developing a fully integrated system for habilitative long-term care and medical services for people with developmental disabilities.
Previously, Mr. Norris served in senior management positions at corporations and nonprofit organizations providing health care, education, and workforce adult education and training. He has also served as a consultant on Medicaid services for people with disabilities to state agencies in numerous states across the country. “Bob Norris has a unique set of skills and a varied and valuable professional background that our organization needs at a time of great change and uncertainty in our field,” said Susan Constantino, President & CEO of CP of NYS.

Al Shibley

Good Neighbor Organics

Good Neighbor Organics invites you to its Grand Opening Celebration on Friday, May 20 at the Cora Hoffman Center, 2324 Forest Avenue, Staten Island.  See this fabulous new venture and enjoy fresh organic beverages and healthful snacks. The fun begins at 11:30 am.
Al Shibley


Prudence York has announced that she will retire from her position as Executive Director of AccessCNY, formerly known as Enable, in September. She has worked with people with developmental disabilities for more than 35 years and was named Executive Director at Enable in 2012. Ms. York joined Enable in 1986. Prior to being named Executive Director she served as the agency’s Director of Community Services for individuals with development disabilities.
AccessCNY was formed as the result of the merger of Enable and Transitional Living Services in 2015. The organization has nearly doubled in size under her leadership and now serves more than 3,000 people with developmental disabilities in central New York.
The AccessCNY Board of Directors has launched a search for candidates to replace Ms. York and hopes to have a new leader in place sometime this summer.

Al Shibley


Empower, previously known as Niagara Cerebral Palsy, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month for Empties for Empower, its new bottle and can redemption center.

The center is a job training and employment readiness program for people with developmental disabilities who work at the center. Funding for the program is provided by OPWDD.

Empower receives money back on every bottle redeemed and users can also choose to keep their full deposit or donate it to Empower.

The center is open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. For more information call 716-545-0023.

Al Shibley




Harvey & Ellen Weisenberg 
Ellen Bernice Weisenberg, with husband and long-time NYS Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, died on April 18.

CP of NYS and all the Affiliates, families and staff sends its sincere condolences to the family of Ellen Bernice Weisenberg, 81, of Long Beach, NY, who passed away on April 18 after a courageous battle with complications from metastatic melanoma.

Ellen leaves behind her devoted husband, longtime New York State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, her loving children and their spouses; Julie Laufer & Donald Popper, Vicki Laufer, Russell & Marilyn Weisenberg and Gregg & Sogdiana Weisenberg, Ricky Weisenberg, her six grandchildren; Brock, Max, Zachary, Daniel, Michael and Jackie, her sister Lenore Mason and the family of Howard & Brenda Seigal.

Ellen Weisenberg spent decades alongside her husband, Harvey Weisenberg, advocating on behalf of their son Ricky, and all of the state’s “special children” with developmental disabilities.  Ellen and Harvey were also ardent champions for Direct Support Professionals and all who support individuals with developmental disabilities and who they called their “angels.”  Most recently, the couple created a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, website, and an app, The Weisenberg Special Needs App, for families in need of funding and resources for their special needs children.  To read more, please click here.

Barbara Crosier


To mark its 10th anniversary in 2016, the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) has created two special awards programs to recognize a total of ten influential organizations and/or leaders working to improve health in New York State.

NYSHealth Luminary Awards ($5,000 each):
The NYSHealth Luminary Awards will recognize up to five leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to improve the health of New Yorkers over the past ten years. Luminary Award winners must be employees of nonprofit, New York State-based organizations that are past and/or current grantees of NYSHealth. These leaders will be recognized with awards of $5,000 made to the nonprofit organizations that employ them. Luminaries may self-nominate or be nominated by third parties familiar with their work; all nominations are due by Tuesday, June 14, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.  View the Call for Nominations here.

NYSHealth Emerging Innovator Awards ($25,000 each):
The NYSHealth Emerging Innovator Awards will recognize up to five New York-based nonprofit organizations poised to make radical improvements to the state of New York's health over the next ten years. The goal of the program is to identify and recognize new and innovative approaches to tackling New York's thorniest, most persistent health challenges. Award recipients will likely represent new partners for NYSHealth. They may come from a range of sectors that affect New Yorkers' health (e.g., transportation, arts and architecture, parks and recreation, planning, housing, education), as well as from traditional health care entities. Applications are due by Tuesday, June 14, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.  View the Call for Applications here.

Al Shibley

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