Acting Commissioner Delaney Outlines Fiscal Year 2019 Budget
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Over the past several years, Governor Cuomo has led efforts to invest in the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities’ (OPWDD) service system to improve the overall quality and availability of community-based, person-centered services, expanding certified housing supports, providing increased employment options and improving respite services.
The Fiscal Year 2019 Budget furthers those efforts by committing state and federal funding totaling $7.5 billion for OPWDD programs and committing $120 million for the 5th consecutive year to support new services, including residential, respite, day habilitation, employment and other services, with a minimum of $5 million to be allocated for new opportunities to support people living at home and whose caregivers are increasingly unable to continue to provide supports.
OPWDD will also receive $15 million to develop new affordable housing opportunities to ensure the availability of safe and accessible residential options for people to live in their community of choice.
To help further our system transformation, the Budget includes $39 million in new State funds to support OPWDD’s initiative to make important improvements in the way in which services are coordinated by transitioning from Medicaid Service Coordination to comprehensive care management provided by Care Coordination Organizations (CCOs). CCOs will integrate developmental disability, health, behavioral, dental and other services into each person’s Life Plan to improve quality of life.
This Budget continues the commitment to raise wages for staff at non-profit provider agencies with over $190 million in new funding to enhance compensation levels of direct care, support and clinical staff and over $80 million for non-profit agencies to comply with the State’s minimum wage law.
OPWDD will collaborate with the Office of Mental Health (OMH) to develop a specialized program for adults with dual diagnoses. The new transitional program, located at the former Bernard Fineson Developmental Center, will support adults discharged from OMH-certified inpatient settings while they transition to appropriate OPWDD community-based supports.
This budget also included notable legislative changes, such as the expansion of the use of telemedicine which will broaden access and choice when it comes to healthcare and improve health outcomes for people with developmental disabilities.
OPWDD thanks Governor Cuomo for his leadership and his support of individuals with developmental disabilities.
Kerry A. Delaney