Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – A deal reached this week between the governor and legislature appears to have spared non-profits that serve the developmentally disabled in New York from deep budget cuts.
The decision to add $90 million in cuts to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to the state budget led to protest throughout the state, including a large protest in Syracuse.
A new deal has been reached this week between the Governor and lawmakers, who also raised strong opposition.
The deal ensures that if the state cannot find enough administrative savings to avoid reducing payment rates to providers, part of the budget cut will be rolled back to protect services.
The decision was a necessary one according to ARISE Medicaid Service Coordinator Karen Santy.
“The services are so necessary. You're talking about the basic services people need to be independent in their homes, to have places to go during the day where they can work, be a valuable member of the community,” Santy said.
ARISE represents almost 800 families in Central New York and say they never let their guard down.
They certainly didn't in this situation and it may have led to this deal.
"It was so impressive to think that even after the budget was done that the families of people with developmental disabilities and those individuals themselves were able to have this kind of impact. That rarely happens,” said ARISE Executive Director Tom McKeown.
McKeown says that he is cautious on how much to celebrate until he sees the exact wording of the legislation.
"One of the ways of getting to the $90 million was to send auditors out to look at clerical mistakes, not the quality of service but find ways of recovering the money in that method and I'm not sure if that method is happening or not, so it'll be important to see the bill language,” McKeown said.
McKeown says the current situation for agencies like ARISE is better than the position they were in after the budget passed.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on the legislation next week before the session ends on Thursday and Governor Cuomo has already agreed to sign it.