Friday, March 28, 2014

Bruce Darling and Bobbi Wallach Interviewed about CFC

Upon returning home from our 8 day stay in Albany, two ADAPTers, Bruce Darling & Bobbi Wallach were interviewed by Rachel Barnhart of Channel 8 in Rochester, NY.  Here's the interview.  (Sorry, there's an ad first)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Come to Albany Wednesday!!!

Support ADAPT’s action – come to Albany tomorrow!
 
The New York State Nursing Association (NYSNA) is holding their Lobby Day tomorrow, March 26th in Albany. ADAPT has now occupied the NYSNA office in Albany for almost 150 hours in an attempt to garner NYSNA’s support for a Nurse Practice Act (NPA) amendment needed for the full implementation of the Community First Choice Option (CFC). ADAPT and NYSNA have reached an agreement on the necessary budget language, however NYSNA must ensure the Assembly supports this change in the final budget agreement.  ADAPT needs people with disabilities and advocates to join them for tomorrow’s rally at NYSNA’s Lobby Day.
 
NYSNA plans to talk about “safe staffing”. Let’s talk about the rights of people with disabilities to live in the community!
 
Meet at McDonald's along the concourse at Empire Center at 11:30 AM. 
 
 
For questions, email Dave Atias: dave34 [at] gmail [dot] com
 
For more information on ADAPT’s activities so far, visit these links:

Further Explanation

I have been posting events as they have been happening on different social media outlets.  Folks with union ties have asked why we're targeting the New York State Nurses Association.  The entire situation is pretty complicated, but here is how I answered:

Community First Choice is a federal program attached to ACA that allows states to choose to participate. If they choose to do (which NY has done) they have to make changes to how they deliver and pay for services for people with disabilities that would get rid of the institutional bias. That means resources would go as much to (or more to) home-based services than institutional-based. States that do this get 6% matching funds from the Feds. So states not only save money by keeping people in their own homes but get extra money for doing it.

In NY, the Nurse Practice Act, in its current form will not let attendants perform certain tasks (see the above blog page) and the Feds will not approve CFC for our state while these are restricted. The amendments to the NPA that are needed have to go thru the Higher Ed committee of the Assembly. That is where it is stuck. We're told that NYSNA is the "progressive" org that is putting pressure on the Chair of that committee to not let NPA be amended. In our talks with NYSNA, they have told us that they are holding things up.

So we are dealing with both NYSNA and one member of the Assembly, Deborah Glick. And I gotta be honest, the silence of the "progressive" community has been extremely disappointing. 

For more explanation on Assemblywoman Glick and her role in this, visit: http://www.adapt.org/main.glick 

NYSNA's Gym and Showers

The New York State Nurses Association prides itself on standing up to corporate greed.  Does greed include using rank-and-file dues for a private gym, complete with accessible showers? 








ADAPT Takes NYSNA Office Space

Happening now...


Hour 137: Good Morning!

Is it Community First Choice, yet?

A Health Care Checkup

The following Op-Ed is a nice nod to ADAPT's effort to bring CFC to New York, though there are concerns.
How long has ADAPT been at NYSNA?

First, who will be on this commission?  Will there be anything more than token representation of the disability community?  Second, doing something cheaper is admirable, but that seems to be the main motivation behind looking at health care.  People's rights over being able to decide over who touches an individual's body should be the main issue.  Cheaper is good, but an evolved society doesn't put money over civil rights.

But overall, we're good with what the TU is saying.

From the Times Union, Albany, NY:

Our opinion: In the debate over who should provide care to the disabled, the sick or the elderly, what’s in the best interests of patients is the real question.

Last week’s sit-in at the New York State Nurses Association is just one symptom of a broader issue: how we balance our desire for quality care with our demand for affordable care.
It’s time for New York state to take a deeper look.

This isn’t a problem we should be resolving one ache at a time. As aging baby boomers require more health services, the state needs to be looking comprehensively at how it helps — and hinders — the health care industry in providing the best possible service at a cost individuals and society can afford.

We might start by acknowledging that there isn’t necessarily a clear right and wrong side in disagreements like the one between NYSNA, which is a union of nurses, and ADAPT, short for Americans Disabled for Attendant Programs Today, which staged the demonstration.

ADAPT wants NYSNA to support a proposed amendment to the Nurse Practice Act, which allows only nurses to perform certain tasks, such as administering medication or helping patients with equipment like ventilators. Activists for the disabled want the law to allow certain care to be done in people’s homes by “advanced home health aides,” which would both bring down the cost and allow more people to provide the services.  Read More
What do YOU think?


Monday, March 24, 2014

Jensen Caraballo at NYSNA


More Than One Hundred Hours of Continuous ADAPT Activism

The ADAPT activists who have occupied the offices of the New York State Nurses Association appreciate the outpouring of support from the disability community and others across the nation. It has been over 100 hours since members of NYS ADAPT started the occupation of the NYSNA offices because the union opposes amending the Nurse Practice Act to allow attendants to do health related tasks. Throughout the occupation, we have negotiated with the nurses’ union in good faith to get their support for nurse delegation so people who need assistance with health-related tasks - including medication administration, ventilator care, assistance with catheters, suppositories and feeding tubes - can get that assistance in the community from attendants.

By allowing advanced home health aides to do health related tasks, New York State will be able to implement the Community First Choice (CFC) Option. This Medicaid State Plan Option would assure that any individual eligible for institutional placement is able to access services and supports to live in the community. Under CFC, NYS would receive additional federal funding and would significantly expand the services and supports for people with disabilities living independently. Additionally, after expanding the availability of services, it is estimated that CFC – at full implementation – would generate an extra $340 million a year, every year.

On Wednesday, when we first arrived at NYSNA, there was significant disagreement about the provision of assistance with health related tasks, and we were concerned that NYSNA’s advocacy was focused on preventing people with disabilities from getting assistance with key health related tasks to live independently. We explained that “full implementation of the Community First Choice Option” means that no person with a disability should be forced into an institution because they cannot get assistance with health related tasks.

Through our negotiations, we secured a statement from NYSNA supporting “the rights of all New Yorkers to be independent in their own homes, and the rights to any and all care needed to maintain that independence.” In that same statement, NYSNA said that “To be clear, NYSNA fully supports the implementation of the Community First Choice program.” NYSNA also proposed alternative legislative language amending NYS education law to allow advanced home health aides to do health related tasks. We are now being told that NYSNA’s language creates a contradiction between education law that would authorize nurse delegation and the Nurse Practice Act in health law that precludes this.

We are not union lobbyists or lawyers; nor are we governmental officials or legislators. We are people with disabilities who want to secure our civil right to live in freedom in the community. We are also activists, and we will hold the union, legislature and our governmental officials accountable.

The ADAPT activists who have occupied the offices of the New York State Nurses Association appreciate the outpouring of support from the disability community and others across the nation. It has been over 100 hours since members of NYS ADAPT started the occupation of the NYSNA offices because the union opposes amending the Nurse Practice Act to allow attendants to do health related tasks. Throughout the occupation, we have negotiated with the nurses’ union in good faith to get their support for nurse delegation so people who need assistance with health-related tasks - including medication administration, ventilator care, assistance with catheters, suppositories and feeding tubes - can get that assistance in the community from attendants.

We have fought for 24 years to secure the right to live in the community rather than be forced into institutions. We will not wait any longer, so NYS ADAPT is continuing our occupation of the NYSNA offices.

DEMANDS

Because of the legal problems that appear to be created by NYSNA's proposed language, NYS ADAPT demands that NYSNA immediately provide a compelling legal analysis demonstrating that their language does not - in fact - create a contradiction between health and education law. If NYSNA is unable to provide such a compelling legal argument, it must agree to address the contradiction by supporting the addition of a “notwithstanding clause” to their language or support an amendment to the Nurse Practice Act.

NYS ADAPT further demands that the New York State Assembly Democrats ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities by supporting budget language that authorizes advanced home health aides to do health related tasks, and if necessary, amends the Nurse Practice Act in order to fully implement the Community First Choice Option, end the Medicaid institutional bias, and FREE OUR PEOPLE!

[Taken directly from http://www.adapt.org/main.nysna]

What Happens if NPA is NOT Amended?

1.  New York will not be able to broadly implement CFC and people with all types of disabilities - whether or not they need assistance with health-related tasks - will not have a right to receive services and supports in the community.

2.  People with dementia - who currently have extremely limited community-based options in New York - will continue to be forced into nursing facilities.

3.  Families of individuals with developmental disabilities who would have received services and supports under CFC will continue to languish on waiting lists for assistance.

4.  People with mental health disabilities will not receive CFC services and supports needed to be successful in living independently and will continue to remain in - or cycle in and out of - expensive institutional settings.

5.  New York State won't generate approximately $340 million a year in extra federal funds from the enhanced federal funding associated with CFC.

Why Have We Taken Over NYSNA Headquarters?

The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) is the union that is the driving force behind resistance to amending the Nurse Practice Act (NPA). 

On Wednesday, March 19th, a couple of vans full of New York ADAPT members drove from Rochester to Albany to confront Assemblywoman Glick, who is the ONE person standing in the way in the Assembly from the amendments.  She is the chair of the Higher Education Committee and the amendments need to go through that committee.  When she gave us the runaround, we decided to stop by the NYSNA headquarters to make sure the nurses' union knew that we have every intent on getting these amendments through. 

Over a dozen of us entered their building and went directly into the staff office part of the building and began chanting.  Our demand was to talk to someone with the authority to negotiate language on the amendments.  We ended up on a phone call to NYC with their lawyer...Leon. 

We had language that we created that would amend the NPA that would bring the Community First Choice (CFC) to New York.  The three hour conversation was a test of patience.  Leon went 'round and 'round, making points that had nothing to do with what we were trying to accomplish and our proposed language.  We took a break so that Leon could talk to Bryan O'Malley at Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of NYS (CDPAANYS).  While we waited, we made ourselves comfortable in the lobby.  It was after 11pm when word came that there would be no resolution that night.  We decided to stay in the lobby...and never left!

It's been 5 days since.  We will try to capture just what has transpired since, where things are going and actions you can take to get this moving.  We'll have video, pictures and guest blog entries.  Stay tuned, share our stuff and help us FREE OUR PEOPLE!