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February 8, 2024

New Details About OPWDD Spending in the New York State FY 2025 Executive Budget

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Office for Persons With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) announced additional information about the agency’s share of the fiscal year (FY) 2025 Executive Budget Proposal. This alert summarizes that information and supplements our alert regarding the Mental Hygiene component of the budget. The appropriation of more than $5 billion for OPWDD programs represents a 4.8 percent, or $230 million, increase in spending.

One important and long-fought-for funding increase is the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to service providers. In the budget, programs receive a 1.5 percent increase, building on the 5.4 percent increase in FY 2023 and the 4.0 percent increase in FY 2024. This represents a cumulative increase of nearly $1 billion to OPWDD provider agencies. An additional $79 million is earmarked for a recalculation of provider reimbursement rates. The proposed COLA increase and rate action together provide an increase of more than $480 million for the provider network when fully implemented. The increased spending will provide relief to providers and allow them to offer more competitive wages to staff, addressing the critical staffing deficits experienced across all program types.

The announcement included the following details with respect to a number of specific OPWDD initiatives:

Employment

The budget includes $6.7 million to support New York State’s commitment to becoming an “employment first state” and further the state’s employment goals by providing more New Yorkers with disabilities the opportunity to seek employment.

Nursing Tasks to Support Independent Living

The budget offers more opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to live with greater independence by proposing legislation that would allow direct support staff to perform certain nursing tasks in private apartments, homes, or in the community.

Funding New Services

The budget again proposes to invest in new service opportunities to meet the needs of people coming into the New York State system for the first time and people who may need a change in their existing services. It calls for investments in new state resources, which when leveraged by federal resources, would add up to $120 million.

Housing

The budget would continue the annual $15 million capital investment in community-based housing. With this additional funding, the state will have invested a total of $140 million in capital resources for people with developmental disabilities as part of the state’s Integrated Supportive Housing (ISH) program.

Home Enabling Supports

The budget includes more than $3 million to establish home enabling supports as an assistive technology, which would provide alternative services, equipment, or supplies not provided through Medicaid.

Olmstead Plan

The budget provides $250,000 for New York State’s Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC) to issue an updated Olmstead Plan, describing New York State’s commitment to supporting people in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs.

Special Olympics New York

The budget also calls for a $1 million annual funding increase for the Special Olympics of New York (SONY). The funding would support SONY’s programs, which include sports training, skill building, and competition, and free health screening and health education to people with developmental disabilities.

The budget targets independent living, fiscal viability, and workforce stabilization. For many providers, it represents an opportunity to grow or enhance their programs.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Keith Brennan, of counsel, at kbrennan@barclaydamon.com, or another member of the firm’s Health & Human Services Providers Team
 

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