Quality of Care at Risk Amid Proposed Changes at the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
Manhattan - A member of the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) with 26-years experience caring for the developmentally disabled warned a Senate task force of the dangers related to recent cost-cutting initiatives at the agency.
Ed Snow, an Intermediate Care Facility Program Manager at Sunmount DDSO, testified about changes related to Medicaid Service Coordination (MSC) which is leading to increased caseloads and a substantial decrease in the number of face-to-face visits with consumers. (MSC assists community based developmentally disabled consumers and their families in gaining access to supports and services appropriate to their needs.)
“These drastic changes will severely and negatively impact those consumers served by the state,” Snow said. “Case managers will now only meet with their clients, face-to-face in their homes once each year, as part of the cost-cutting measure. How can we effectively update a consumer’s care by only seeing that consumer once?” Snow said.
Higher caseloads which have recently increased from a ratio of 1:30 to as high as 1:50 expected this Fall is transforming MSC from a consumer-based service to a paper-based service.
“That is not in the best interest of the consumer,” Snow said. “Private providers already cherry pick the easiest consumers, leaving the state with the most challenging to serve consumers. We have become the provider of last resort, and now more than ever, quality of care for our consumers is in jeopardy,” Snow testified.
The agency’s own website boasts of a mission to help people with developmental disabilities live richer lives by putting people first. The changes related to MSC severely limits the hands-on work case managers currently provide and seems to put cost cutting ahead of the people it serves.
“We urge the task force to take a closer look at salaries and qualifications of employees at private providers when considering recommendations for cost savings. This is where savings can be realized without compromising the needs of consumers and the agency’s vital mission.” Snow added.
Snow gave his testimony to the Senate Task Force on Government Efficiency exploring spending at the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). PEF represents 4,800 members at OPWDD.