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

Kenneth P. LaValle

June 18, 2013

New York State Senator Ken LaValle said the Senate has given final passage to legislation 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 fall short of projections.

"I have long been an advocate for the disabled," Senator LaValle said, "and I am happy that we are able to restore funding to protect those who are among our most vulnerable."

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 today, 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.