Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Albany Lied to Us

This blog has been pretty silent over the past few weeks.  Last we posted, disability advocates left Albany exhausted, but triumphant, confident that the work we did would be resulting in the Community First Choice being implemented in New York State.

But then we left it up to the elected officials and that's where it went all wrong.

We didn't have much of a choice.  When we last were in Albany, the Governor's administration, the NYS Assembly, and the NYS Senate agreed on language that would amend the Nurse Practice Act in ways that the federal government would accept.  This acceptance would bring $340 million into New York State and allow people with disabilities to live in the most integrated setting possible.  You can read about it in more detail here.

These changes didn't make it into the state budget in time, therefore it would have to be done legislatively once the Senate and Assembly come back into session, which they did on April 28th.  While the Legislature was out, our sources tell us that Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and the rest of the NYS Assembly decided on some payback by getting the language that had been agreed upon changed.  As it stands today, here is what would change in the Nurse Practice Act:

*Non-licensed nurses can administer medication.

That's it. No more mention of ventilator care, tracheostomy care, catheters, or any other dealings with medical equipment that are absolutely necessary to keep people with disabilities in their own homes and out of institutions. 

Assemblywoman Glick and the Assembly lied to the Disability Community, Governor Cuomo,  Senate IDC Leader Klein and Senate Leader Skelos allowed this language to be changed.  They seem to think that we're going to accept this without a fight.

Here's the thing...

When dozens of activists holed up at the NYSNA office for 8 days and fought for our civil and human rights, that was done without planning.  When we marched into that building, there was no intention of not leaving.

Now we get to plan a long-term, coordinated campaign to show voting citizens of New York State exactly how our elected representatives feel about people with disabilities.

And remember...we're all going to be persons with disabilities at some point.  

So, feel free to share this and other blog posts and come back often as this blog will be updated every step of the way to illustrate how those in Albany see people with disabilities as a cash crop.


 UPDATE: As more information comes in, we realize that NYSNA is still committed to real change of the Nurse Practice Act as we have this commitment in writing. This blog entry reflects that.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

If CFC Is Not In The Budget, Why Are We Celebrating?

Majority Leader Morelle & Bruce Darling
Via Bruce Darling:

Over the last few months, disability rights activists and advocates did an amazing job getting the state to move forward with a proposal to authorize nurse delegation in New York so that people who need assistance with health related tasks could live independently in the community and the state could fully implement the Community First Choice Option.  These efforts culminated with a week-long sit-in at the offices of the NYS Nurses Association to persuade the union to stop opposing this policy change.

We were successful in persuading the nurses to change their position.  Ultimately, the Governor, Assembly, and Senate all agreed to make the necessary changes to allow for nurse delegation but they literally ran out of time before the budget bills needed to be printed.  All three parties have assured us that they are committed to moving forward with nurse delegation outside the budget process.

I am happy to report that the Governor has submitted language to the Assembly and Senate that – when passed and signed into law - will allow the state to establish nurse delegation and fully implement the Community First Choice Option.  Given the agreement that already exists, we expect that the legislature will take action on this when they return to Albany.  We will keep you posted.

It is also important to acknowledge the work of those in the administration, Senate and Assembly who also worked very hard to make this happen.  We appreciate their efforts and commitment to making New York State a leader in Community Choice.  Together we will FREE OUR PEOPLE!

Great work everyone!