Syracuse News reported this week on public concern over changes that are about to take effect within the New York Medicaid system. Per the planned alterations, many local residents with developmental disabilities will lose their caseworkers as that task is soon to be outsourced to non-profit agencies in the state. Currently, many of these residents receive assistance from a group of public employees known as Medicaid service coordinators. However, these residents have been instructed that by the end of this week they must select a non-profit to take over this function.
Many community members are concerned about the effect the changes will have on their vulnerable family members with disabilities who have grown familiar with their personal caseworkers over many years. The service coordinators function as advocates for program participants, developing relationships with the clients and helping their family find the services that they need. Many coordinators have helped families find appropriate educational opportunities, arrange for respite care, and have linked participants with employment programs. Our New York Medicaid attorneys are aware of the complications that are intrinsic in working through the Medicaid system, as we also devote our time helping local residents work within the system to protect their assets while receiving the resources that they need to get by each day.
Cost-cutting is the state’s motivation for changing the way the services are provided. The state spokesman for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities reported that non-profit agencies already handle roughly eighty percent of Medicaid service coordination in the state. Nonprofit agencies explain that they are prepared to handle their expanded role. However, they also report that it may be difficult to complete the transition in a month–which is the goal of the administration. Even if the changes go through, there is a chance that families may be able to remain with the same service coordinator if that coordinator is hired by a nonprofit after leaving the state payroll. The program shift will allow the state to cut 300 service coordinators who had previously served about 10,000 local residents. Current service coordinators may try to approve an amended contract and submit it to the state in an effort to halt the layoffs. However, there is no guarantee that the privatization effort will be halted.
These latest New York Medicaid changes are part of a wide range of alterations that will likely take place over the coming years in an effort to help the state absorb the program’s growing costs. Other proposed changes may affect the way that seniors and other program participants use the service to receive the extra care they need. Our New York Medicaid lawyers urge all local residents to visit with professionals to plan ahead for all long-terms health and financial concerns.
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