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DRNY Comment to CMS on Quality Measures for HCBS

November 13, 2020 - Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”) submits the following comments on the Recommended Measure Set for Medicaid Funded Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As New York’s Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities, Disability Rights New York (DRNY) has an interest in ensuring that people with disabilities receive the support they need to live independently in their communities. Health care services and programs funded through Medicaid and provided through a carefully planned and effective delivery system is an integral part of that support, especially in New York State.

DRNY Comments to Discussion Draft of the Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine

September 4, 2020 -Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”) submits the following comments on the Discussion Draft of the Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine (“Draft Framework”). DRNY is the designated Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities in New York State. Pursuant to its federal authority, DRNY provides protection and advocacy services for New Yorkers with disabilities, including serious mental illness, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and physical disabilities.

 

DRNY Comments on Draft October 1, 2020 Waiver Amendment

July 1, 2020 - Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”) submits the following comments on the Department of Health (“DOH”) and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (“OPWDD”) draft October 1, 2020 1915(c) waiver amendment. As the statewide Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities, DRNY has an interest in ensuring that people with disabilities receive the support they need to live independently in their communities. We appreciate DOH’s and OPWDD’s commitment to these goals. However, we would like to highlight a few key concerns about the proposed waiver amendment.

Public Comments on Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0

June 22, 2020 - DRNY supports the need for safe, accessible, and fair elections that represent the will of the people. The proposed VVSG 2.0 does not sufficiently prioritize that every voter have access to a private and independent vote. The proposed VVSG 2.0 fails to balance security concerns with the need to make voting programs fully accessible, does not protect against discrimination, and does not ensure voter privacy and independence.

Proposed Amendments to Sections 200.1 and 200.5 for the Commissioners Regulations Relating to Special Education Impartial Hearing Officers and Due Process Procedures

June 16, 2020 - DRNY advocates for thousands of students with disabilities individually and systemically each year. Our experience as the P&A has provided us with unique insight on the struggles faced by students with disabilities and their families across the State. We oppose the proposed regulatory changes permitting non-attorneys to manage and decide special education due process hearings as Impartial Hearing Officers (IHOs). Now more than ever it is important that the rights of students with disabilities are assessed, reviewed, and decided by attorney IHO’s with extensive legal training and experience.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Rules Regarding the Proposed Waiver and Extension of the Project Period for a Grant That Provides Rehabilitation Short-Term Training to the Client Assistance Program (CAP)

May 27, 2020 - DRNY supports the one-year extension of this grant to the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). Furthermore, DRNY supports NDRN’s continued involvement in any future development of CAP trainings.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Rules Regarding the Proposed Priorities—Innovative Rehabilitation Training Program

May 27, 2020 - No justification is given for the proposed priorities. Priority #1 calls for extensive changes to be made to the content of training services provided to CAPs over the last several years. This includes a proposal that CAP training be conflated into vocational rehabilitation training with an academic focus. The language acknowledges the extensive work done by CAPs across the country in FFY 2018. However, the priority fails to characterize the quality of CAP services to people with disabilities in that year, and thus fails to establish why such radical changes need to be made in the first place. There is no indication at all whether the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) finds the cited FFY 2018 statistics acceptable. It only states that “training continues to be necessary” and that CAP is need of “greater expertise” with regard to WIOA’s mandates.

Comments on Proposed Rule: Preadmission Screening and Resident Review
CMS-2418-P

May 20, 2020 - Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”), New York’s Protection and Advocacy system for New Yorkers with disabilities, provides these comments on CMS’ proposed amendments to PASRR regulations, 42 C.F.R. 483.100 et seq. DRNY has long advocated for New York’s PASRR system to conform to federal requirements in furtherance of the statute’s goals of avoiding unnecessary nursing home stays and providing appropriate community-based treatment. In 2011, DRNY successfully advocated for New York to adopt a new Level II evaluation tool for community placements for individuals with mental illness. DRNY continues to actively engage with State agencies to reform Level I screening, implement tracking, and reform specialized services requirements. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a serious risks to people residing in nursing facilities. Now more than ever it is important that PASRR adhere to the Nursing Home Reform Act’s goals for preventing unnecessary nursing facility admissions.

DRNY Comments to Proposed U.S. DOT ACAA Regulations on Service Animals
(14 C.F.R. Part 382)

March 22, 2020 - Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”) submits the following comments on the amendments to the service animal regulations that the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) proposed on January 22, 2020. DOT-OST-2018-0068. DRNY is the designated Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities in New York State. Pursuant to its federal authority, DRNY provides protection and advocacy services for New Yorkers with disabilities, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, serious mental illness, and physical disabilities. We are concerned about the proposed amendments to the DOT’s service animal regulations (“proposed regulations”) for the reasons set forth below.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Rules Regarding the Frequency and Notice of Continuing Disability Reviews, 84 Fed. Reg. 36588 (November 18, 2019), Docket No. SSA-2018-0026, RIN 0960-AI27

January 31, 2020 - By law, the SSA is required to perform periodic CDRs on recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Title II Social Security benefits awarded on the basis of disability. However, we have significant concerns about SSA’s proposal to perform more CDRs, more frequently. We will take the opportunity to discuss how burdensome the CDR process is for people with disabilities, their families, and the service providers who assist them. Performing CDRs more frequently will increase that burden, a factor that SSA does not accurately or sufficiently address.

DRNY AbilityOne Comment 

November 20, 2019 - In July 2014, the passage of the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) highlighted the importance of all individuals with disabilities to have the opportunity to work in integrated settings, at competitive wages. In July 2016, WIOA authorized Client Assistance Programs (CAP) to conduct outreach and serve individuals working in subminimum wage settings to this end. Nearly 9000 New Yorkers earn subminimum wages in segregated work settings are left with minimal opportunity for inclusive employment and payment of at least the minimum wage.

DRNY Comments on the New York State Department of Corrections and Community
Supervision’s Proposed Amendments to State Prison Regulations

October 25, 2019 - Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”), New York’s protection and advocacy system for
New Yorkers with disabilities, is pleased that New York State Department of Corrections and
Community Supervision (“DOCCS”) has proposed rules amending Title 7 of the New York
Code of Rules and Regulations to limit the use of solitary confinement in New York’s prisons.
The proposed rules take important steps towards limiting the discretion of prison officials to
subject incarcerated individuals to solitary confinement, a practice well-known to pose a serious
risk of psychiatric harm and widely recognized as a human rights violation.1 However, the rules
do not go far enough.

DRNY Comments on the New York State Commission of Correction’s Proposed Rules on
Disciplinary and Administrative Segregation of Inmates in Special Housing

October 25, 2019 - Disability Rights New York (DRNY), New York’s protection and advocacy system for
New Yorkers with disabilities, is pleased that New York State Commission of Correction
(SCOC) has proposed rules amending Title 7 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations.
limiting the use of segregated confinement in special housing units in local correctional facilities.
The proposed rules take important steps towards limiting the discretion of corrections staff to
subject incarcerated individuals to solitary confinement, a practice well-known to pose a serious
risk of psychiatric harm and widely recognized as a human rights violation.

HCBS Waiver Plan Comment

October 18, 2019 - We write to express our concerns regarding the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ (“OPWDD”) proposal: Draft 2019 Waiver Renewal (“Plan”). As the statewide Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities, Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”) has an interest in ensuring that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive the support they need to live independently in their communities. We appreciate OPWDD’s commitment to these goals. We offer the following comments highlighting the ineffectiveness of the Plan in addressing specific needs within this community.

Testimony for Joint Legislative Committee on Mental Hygiene

February 14, 2019 - Thank you for the opportunity to address your committees concerning the sufficiency of access to developmental disability services and supports, in the context of the 2019-2020 Executive Budget Proposal. Disability Rights New York (DRNY) is an independent, non-profit agency, authorized under federal and state law to be the protection and advocacy (P&A) system for New Yorkers with disabilities. As part of its role as New York’s P&A, DRNY has an interest in ensuring that people with disabilities receive the support they need to live independently in their communities.

DRNY Comments on CMS Proposed Rule on Medicaid Managed Care (CMS–2408–P)

January 14, 2019 - Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”) submits the following comments on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Proposed Rule on Medicaid Managed Care (CMS–2408–P). As New York’s Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities, DRNY has an interest in ensuring that people with disabilities receive the support they need to live independently in their communities. Health care services and programs funded through Medicaid and provided through a carefully planned and effective delivery system is an integral part of that support, especially in New York State.

DRNY Testimony on OPWDD Budget 

December 6, 2018 - Thank you for the opportunity to address your committee concerning the sufficiency of access to developmental disability services and supports, in the context of the 2018-2019 budget. Disability Rights New York (DRNY) is an independent, non-profit agency, authorized under federal and state law to be the protection and advocacy (P&A) system for New Yorkers with disabilities. As part of its role as New York’s P&A, DRNY has an interest in ensuring that people with disabilities receive the support they need to live independently in their communities.

DRNY Comments on Draft of New York State Medicaid Managed Care Organization I/DD System Transformation Requirements and Standards to Serve Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities in Specialized I/DD Plans – Provider Led (SIPs-PL)

October 3, 2018 -Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”) submits the following comments on the Department of Health (“DOH”) and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (“OPWDD”) proposal: New York State Medicaid Managed Care Organization I/DD System Transformation Requirements and Standards to Serve Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities in Specialized I/DD Plans – Provider Led (SIPs-PL) (“Plan”). As the statewide Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities, DRNY has an interest in ensuring that people with disabilities receive the support they need to live independently in their communities. We appreciate DOH and OPWDD’s commitment to these goals. However, the current plan for a successful transition to managed care is grossly deficient.

DRNY Public Comment on Emergency Regulation 14 NYCRR § 629.1

September 27, 2018 - We write to reiterate our concerns regarding the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ (“OPWDD”) emergency regulation 14 NYCRR § 629.1. As the statewide Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities, Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”) has an interest in ensuring that people with disabilities are able to receive the support they need to live independently in their communities through the Home and Community Based Services (“HCBS”) Waiver. We appreciate OPWDD’s commitment to these goals. However, 14 NYCRR § 629.1 unlawfully alters the definition of a developmental disability and unlawfully restricts eligibility for the HCBS Waiver for individuals whom the New York State Legislature had intended to be eligible. By enacting 14 NYCRR § 629.1, OPWDD has exceeded its authority by contravening the Legislature. DRNY offers the following comments on 14 NYCRR § 629.1 and why this regulation must be rescinded as written.

DRNY Comments to Draft Final Transition Plan for the Children's Medicaid and Behavioral Health System Transformation

September 21, 2018 - Disability Rights New York (DRNY) submits the following comments on the Draft Final Transition Plan regarding a proposed 1915 (c) Children's Waiver. DRNY is the designated Protection and Advocacy System for people with disabilities in the state. Pursuant to its federal authority, DRNY provides protection and advocacy services for New Yorkers with disabilities, including individuals with mental illness, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and physical and sensory disabilities. While we support the concept of a Children􀂶s Waiver, we are concerned about the sunset provision for dually-diagnosed children in 2022 and the failure to address children placed in nursing homes.

Site Based and Community Based Prevocational Services Proposed Emergency Amendments to 14 NYCRR 635-10.4 & 635-10.5

February 5, 2018 - We write to express our continued objection to the operation of sheltered workshops in New York State, and offer specific objections to the emergency/proposed amendments to 14 NYCRR 635-10.4 & 635-10.5. Disability Rights New York (“DRNY”) is the designated Protection and Advocacy and Client Assistance Program System (“P&A/CAP”) for New York State. Each year we provide legal assistance to hundreds of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many of these are New Yorkers who work in segregated work settings and receive subminimum wages. Some of the proposed provisions significantly diminish provider accountability and perpetuate practices that result in no meaningful skills development and employment abuses under U.S. Department of Labor’s 14 (c) regulations. Consequently, nearly 9000 New Yorkers who earn subminimum wages in segregated work settings are left with minimal opportunity for inclusive employment and payment of at least the minimum wage.