Senate Gives Final Passage To Legislation To Protect OPWDD From Funding Cuts

Phil Boyle

June 18, 2013

The New York State Senate recently gave final passage to legislation (S4777D) that would protect providers of services for the developmentally disabled from state funding cuts.

The legislation would appropriate up to $90 million, or as much as is needed, to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to protect providers from funding reductions if recommended savings measures falls short of projections.

“This bill fulfills our promise to people with developmental disabilities and their families that we would do everything possible to protect them from cuts to service providers that they depend on every day,” Senate Majority Coalition Leader Dean Skelos said.  “Senator Golden and Assemblyman Weisenberg  deserve praise for their leadership in addressing this issue and speaking up for New York’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Senate Republicans strongly opposed the proposal in the Governor’s budget for $240 million in across-the-board funding cuts to OPWDD.  The Senate’s budget resolution, passed in March, called for the full restoration of funding for OPWDD. 

The final enacted state budget restored $60 million in state and federal funds to OPWDD. In addition, the budget created a workgroup that identified alternatives to minimize the impact of the cuts.  The plan included using funds from Medicaid fraud recoveries, implementing  less costly approaches to treatment, and ensuring that Medicaid is the payer of last resort.

Under the legislation passed recently by both the Senate and the Assembly, should the savings fall short of the amount expected to be achieved from the workgroup, the state would transfer sufficient funds to OPWDD to make up for the shortfall.  The Commissioner of OPWDD may also take into account greater efficiencies which do not diminish or impair services or the quality of care as reflected in the recommendations of the workgroup.

The bill will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.