Therapeutic Leave Rate Cut Call Instructions and Script
As part of our overall advocacy campaign against cuts to I/DD supports and services, we will engage in an all-day “phone rally” on Thursday, September 24. We ask that you take 10-15 minutes out of your day to share your story and how these cuts will personally affect you and your loved ones. Below are some helpful resources and instructions to assist with this effort.
Also, if you have not already done so, please take part in our letter campaign focused on the same message. Every contact made makes a difference. We must be willing to ask our legislators to represent our needs and honor their oath of office to serve our most vulnerable people. https://p2a.co/gotSDnp
After you make your calls, please complete this short survey so we can measure the impact of this initiative. It also helps us reach back out to legislators and build on the foundation you have laid. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7CXWTCH
Who to Contact
Governor Andrew Cuomo: 1-518-474-8390
Find Your NYS Assembly Member: https://www.nyassembly.gov/mem/search/
Full Assembly Member Directory: https://www.nyassembly.gov/mem/
Find You NYS Senator: https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator
Fully Senator Directory: https://www.nysenate.gov/senators-committees
After you are finished contacting the Governor, Senator, and Assembly Member, you can contact other leaders in both houses if you want to “phone bank” this message. Here are the four legislative leaders. If you are excited to share this message, you can call as many as you would like.
Carle Heastie, Speaker of the Assembly
District Office: 718-654-6539
Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Temporary President and Majority Leader Albany: (518) 455-2585
District Office: (914) 423-4031
William Barclay, Assembly Minority Leader
District Office: 315-598-5185
Robert Ortt, Senate Minority Leader
Albany: (518) 455-2024
District Office: 716-434-0680
Pointers and Instructions
- The goal is to inform, but also to seek where they stand on the issue and if we can count on them to fight against these cuts
- District office numbers might be more useful at this time.
- Ask to speak to your legislator by name
- If they are not available ask to speak with the person who oversees their policy, such as chief of staff, legislative director, etc.
- If able, give an example of how time with families should be encouraged, benefits for quality of life, etc.
- Make as personal as you would like
- Example: replacing “families” with “us” or a person’s name. All highlighted and italicized areas are where you can and should make it specific to you, your loved ones, and the office you are calling.
- Make it your own, adapt the script so you are comfortable and don’t rush
- Remember to thank the person taking the call
- If you leave a message, ask for a call back and be sure to leave your number
- Offer to send additional information, leave my information, or both.
Philip Aydinian, Associate Executive Director of Governmental Affairs, The Arc NY, firstname.lastname@example.org, 518-605-1379
Script to Follow as Guide
Hello, my name is ________________ and I am a constituent and [supporter, mother, father, caretaker, etc.] of [insert who are calling on behalf of] an individual(s) with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
I am calling to voice my extreme opposition to administrative cuts from the Department of Health and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities that could jeopardize the residential stability of [insert who are calling on behalf of]. While several cuts are proposed, the one that hits closest to home would reduce payments to voluntary service providers by 50% whenever individuals with I/DD leave to spend time with family or are admitted to the hospital for care. It is planned to go into effect on October 1, 2020, which is coming right up!
This seems to be punishing families for staying connected and involved with their loved ones with disabilities, and threatens to erode the stability of our residential support system.
This is [his/her/their] home, not just “a bed”. Our own fixed expenses do not go away when we are on vacation or in the hospital and the same is true for providers when an individual they support is away from home.
I understand that this is a difficult time; it has been for all of us. But, I feel it is my duty to inform about what is going on behind the scenes…I know [he/she/you] didn’t vote for these cuts directly, but I am asking you to join with your colleagues and push back against this. New York state has a constitutional obligation to support their most vulnerable and [you/Assemblymember _______/Senator________] took an oath to uphold the constitution.
Do you know where [insert legislator name] stands on this and if they are willing to take a public position on it? (Please record response and report back)
Additional Talking Points
- Imagine being a family member who is burdened with the knowledge that spending time with their loved one could cause financial harm and instability to the place they call home.
- Providers have tried their hardest not to burden families with issues like this, but the reality is that New York state is has been intentionally underfunding our system of supports and services for years. Basic human decency would dictate that this is unacceptable in any form.
- These are the homes of people that they may come and go from in times of crisis or for connection – homes they have a right to return to. This cut would jeopardize that basic security
Some Technical Details (should they ask)
- This is part of a package of three cuts to certified residential programs – eliminating reimbursement for vacancies, and cutting in half funding for therapeutic leave and retainer days.
- On May 27th, without any discussion or notice to the provider community or to the families they support, the Department of Health (“DOH”) announced proposed cuts in reimbursement for IRA and ICF residential programs by eliminating the occupancy adjustment resulting from vacancies and slashing reimbursement by 50% for retainer days when residents are in the hospital or are visiting family. Finally, after cutting reimbursement by 50% for leave days, the proposal also would impose an annual “cap” of 96 therapeutic leave days, after which reimbursement would be reduced to zero. This action would remove over $230 million from providers already besieged with losses from the pandemic.
- Rate changes continue to await federal approval.
- Implementation of the cuts will require amendments to DOH rate setting regulations, which have yet to be filed. So there might be time to stop them if legislators push back