NYS is messing with its Early Intervention program--again

With all the taxpayer money the state squanders on utterly useless programs...or all the taxpayer money that is lost to fraud or outright theft (if you doubt those things, spend a few minutes perusing Comptroller DiNapoli's missives), you would think the governor could find some other pies to stick his fingers into other than Early Intervention.

According to the information put out on some Assembly members' websites, the governor's "Executive Budget recommends a series of modifications to the Early Intervention Program that will expand insurance coverage and streamline eligibility determinations, without impacting services, to provide significant fiscal and administrative mandate relief to counties and generate savings totaling more than $60 million over five years."

Sounds wonderful, but an organization called United New York Early Intervention & Related Service Providers With Parents as Partners (UNYEIP), composed entirely of volunteers and with no paid lobbyists, says...not so much and not so fast.  Read their response to the governor's executive budget proposals, but here are a few highlights:

  • Nine significant changes to the EI program have been instituted over the last three years that have impacted providers, caregivers, and the children served, but the effects of those changes have yet to be adequately evaluated.
  • The presence of an insurer representative at individual family service plan (IFSP) meetings would be required. Umm, sounds like a damper to me.
  • In-network providers would be required.
  • Providers would be required to negotiate rates with insurers.
  • One good thing in all of this is the acceptance of the idea that the location for early intervention can occur in natural environments that could be the home. Seems like a no-brainer.

The changes to the EI program will be coming up in the legislature on Friday, so contact (preferably by phone--that has much more impact) your assemblyman and your senator right away.

You could even tweet them this message: REJECT ALL EI PROPOSALS. READ THE UNYEIP 8 Recommendations and 9 Reasons To Reject at www.unyeip.org/ announcement. html in the UNYEIP Pink & Blue Book!

Many of us know a child with special needs.  We may be related to such a child. NYS Early Intervention is a program that has far-reaching societal implications and is a significant, life-changing program for a child with special needs and his/her family.


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