Monday, March 24, 2014
More Than One Hundred Hours of Continuous ADAPT Activism
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.
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]
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