TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to the implementation of a
trend factor for payments to certain intermediate care facilities
To provide a 3% trend factor in the OPWOD budget for the current
fiscal year to rates funding under 31 bed ICF/DDS and Home and
Community Based Waiver programs operated by non-profit agencies.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill amends Article 43.02 of the mental hygiene law
to direct the OPWOD Commissioner to add a 3% trend factor for the
current fiscal year for all rates of payment for under 31-bed
intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled and all
rates of payment for home and community based waiver services.
Section 2 of the bill states that additional appropriations shall be
necessary to effectuate the purpose of this act and shall be made
pursuant to a chapter amendment.
Section 3 of the bill provides for an immediate effective date
retroactive to January 12, 2011.
The budget for OPWDD has included a trend factor for each of the last
approximately 30 years.
New York State has long recognized that a trend factor is essential to
provide critical resources necessary to safeguard the health, safety
and even lives of our State's most vulnerable citizens. Thus, for
three decades the budget for the Office of People with Developmental
Disabilities (OPWDD) included a trend factor for its major Medicaid
programs. This year the trend factor was discontinued.
This action is of extreme concern to the parents, family members and
advocates whose loved ones depend on services funded through OPWDD's
budget. Many receive 24 hour care. They are often non-ambulatory,
have severe and/or multiple disabilities, are medically frail and/or
have behavioral issues that pose a risk to themselves or others. As
events, including recent events, have shown they are uniquely at
risk, sometimes mortal risk. Their safety depends on the care of
adequate, trained and
capable staff. (Note: Questions have been raised about the adequacy of
staffing at a state operated group home that recently resulted in the
deaths of four individuals in a fire in Wells, New York.)
However, these staff face an extremely challenging occupation.
Recruiting and retaining them depends on providing wages and benefits
which are at least minimally acceptable. The Medicaid trend factor is
central to providing such wages and benefits. Further, unlike other
health care providers, Medicaid is the sole source of funding for
these programs which are also faced with ever rising costs of
pharmaceuticals, food, utilities, workers compensation, liability
insurance, health care, technology, compliance, record retention and
reporting paperwork and other unfunded mandates. All of these factors
force these providers to operate on the margin in the best of times
with reserves which, on average, compare poorly to hospitals, nursing
homes, school districts and other major human services employers.
It should be noted that while nursing homes and home care programs did
receive a trend factor for the first calendar quarter, hospitals,
home care, nursing homes and personal care programs received more
than $265 million in recruitment and retention funding. This funding
fulfills the same purpose as a trend factor. On the other hand, OPWDD
programs received no recruitment and retention funding.
The vast majority of OPWDD's consumers are served by community based
non-profit providers. Since 1996, the OPWDD service system has grown
from about 65,000 consumers to over 135,000. The health, safety and
even lives of all the individuals served by this vast mainly
nonprofit infrastructure is highly dependent on a stable funding
system. That stability rests on the presence of the Medicaid trend
factor. This year the Governor has chosen to discontinue the trend
factor. This bill would reinstate it.
To be determined.
Immediately and shall be retroactive to January 1, 2011.