Swierat Speaks at the NYSARC’s 2014 Partnership Event
Ric Swierat Speaks at the NYSARC’s 2014 Partnership Event for the Southeast Region
On Thursday, August 7, Ric Swierat addressed representatives from all 10 chapters of NYSARC’s Southeast Region and local congressmen regarding Medicare/Medicaid funding reforms and integrated services. His speech is below.
As you can see through the lens of this event, the Arcs in the metropolitan region are invested in creating the opportunity for good public policy which delivers important and critical supports and services to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in New York State.
We are on the forefront of discussions and plans as CMS and New York State continue to develop their responses to the challenges of Medicaid reform and transforming a system to comply with the CMS rules.
The Arcs in this metropolitan area are committed to the principles established through the Olmstead court case* and the CMS ruling which call for funding reforms and services in fully integrated settings. We all share in a commitment to transitioning people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities out of segregated settings and into community settings.
As family-driven organizations, we are committed to doing the right thing but also doing it the right way for the people we support. This includes preparing our organizations and the community properly to accomplish these goals effectively and successfully.
The timeframes and government expectations need to be realistic.
As we close workshops, downsize ICF/MRs and other residential settings and develop stronger ties with our employers and community partners, we need a realistic plan with realistic goals and timeframes that work for people and families.
We agree that people need jobs with real pay. However, job development takes time and resources. This will not happen overnight or even over a few months.
We need a realistic timeframe that insures people are not driven from opportunities that currently exist for them today and left without any option that pays them money and/or provides supports for them in a valued community life.
Equally important, while we work on these reforms, we need to pay attention to the 13,000 people, and their families, that have come forward and need services NOW. They are still waiting for help with little guidance. We owe them that support.
We are aware that CMS and the State of NY are fighting about $1.3 billion that CMS wants to take back from NYS. Whatever happens with that $1.3 billion cannot and should not cause harm to the individuals and families that need supports and are waiting for supports.
We hope that the decision-makers in the room, today, and those other partners who could not be here today will continue to protect and fight for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their guardians and families in NYS.
* The 1992 Olmstead court case ruled that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ruling stated that public entities must provide community-based services to persons with disabilities when (1) such services are appropriate; (2) the affected persons do not oppose community-based treatment; and (3) community-based services can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the public entity and the needs of others who are receiving disability services from the entity.