Assemblyman Weprin and Early Intervention Providers Join to Oppose Budget Cuts

Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens) held a press conference, along with Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn), representatives from the offices of State Senator Daniel Sqaudron and Councilmember Julissa Ferraras, members of United New York Early Intervention Providers, and concerned parent concerning proposed budget cuts to the Early Intervention Program on Sunday March 27, 2011 at 12noon on the Steps of City Hall.

“The Governor’s budget proposes rate reductions of 10% for Early Intervention Services across the board and also requires Early Intervention providers to directly bill Medicaid and private insurances plans”, said Assemblyman David Weprin.

Nearly 11 months ago, the United New York Early Intervention Providers and Parents As Partners Association merged forces across the state to rally against the NYS Department of Health's apparent mission to dismantle NYS Early Intervention -- in the name of fiscal responsibility. At that time, new regulations were introduced that closed small agencies statewide; home-based independent contractors, the front-line of NYS Early Intervention, were met with a 10-20% rate decrease and, now the children of early intervention, the children with developmental disabilities are no longer receiving the services that they are eligible for and, those that are receiving services, have mandates that are non-therapeutic. Caseloads of home-based providers are judged to have been reduced to 25-33% of what they were at this same time last year.

“Essentially, in their efforts to achieve fiscal austerity through the current Budget Proposals, Governor Cuomo and the NYS DOH are further limiting and nearly dissolving the most precious of jobs – home-based early intervention. The impact on the children of NYS, our only meaningful human resource and the impact on the financial health of NYS long-term will be disastrous. The period of neural plasticity (0-3 years of age) cannot be compromised’, said Leslie Grubler, President of the United NYS Early Intervention Providers.

"The Governor’s proposal to recalibrate Early Intervention rates and to reduce service rates by an additional 10 percent across the board will undoubtedly have a devastating effect on consumers who depend on these services," said Assemblyman Weprin. “In response, I have introduced Assembly Bill Number A705, which will prohibit the Department of Health from further reducing the reimbursement rates of the Early Intervention Program.”

Last year’s cuts to the Early Intervention program resulted in the closing of small agencies statewide and a 10-20% rate decrease to home-based independent service providers. Many children with developmental disabilities are no longer receiving the services that they are need and are eligible for. Those that are receiving services have mandates that are not sufficient to meet their needs

“These proposed budget cuts will have a devastating effect on the children serviced by Early Intervention statewide, as well as the providers and agencies that offer these essential services.” stated Assemblyman David Weprin.