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Agencies for developmentally disabled pushing for more support from state

Although they successfully fought to have some proposed state budget cuts restored, some agencies serving the developmentally disabled aren’t satisfied.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Although they successfully fought to have some proposed state budget cuts restored, some agencies serving the developmentally disabled aren’t satisfied.

Several service providers around the area were part of a forum at the Syracuse Tech Garden on Thursday with two State Senators to express their ongoing concerns.

Senator Dave Valesky said budget concerns regarding the developmentally disabled community were among his constituents’ most significant concerns. Valesky said he received more calls and emails regarding the issue than he did for any other element in the budget.

Because of those concerns, Valesky convened the forum with many service providers and the head of the Senate committee that handles this portion of the budget, who was visiting from Downstate New York.

"We want to make sure we protect people, our most vulnerable population and that's why we've got to work together to figure out a way that we can deliver quality services and we do it in an efficient and cost effective way,” said Senator David Carlucci, who represents the 38th Congressional District covering Westchester and Rockland counties.

With Washington pressuring New York on how it bills for Medicaid, the state is moving to a managed care medical model that is not sitting well with all providers.

“You can’t maintain people in the current system and transition into a brand new system without government support,” said Madison/Cortland ARC Executive Director Ray Lewandowski.

Numerous agencies say regulations are a substantial burden.

"We're not going to cure our folks with intellectual disabilities, what we need is to support them through rehabilitative programs,” Lewandowski said.

"Listen to some of those staff who may have awareness of who is being helpful to families and maybe who needs to improve,” said ARISE Executive Director Tom McKeown.

Valesky said state leaders want to know how they can improve their working relationship with the agencies that support the developmentally disabled.

"We are anxious to hear from service providers of how they think we can move forward in making sure together we continue to provide those services in spite of those budget cuts,” Valesky said.

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