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New York News

Home Care Advocates Rally At NY State Capitol

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-955026.mp3

Albany, NY – Saying that its members will be disproportionately affected by recommended cuts suggested by the Cuomo Administration's Medicaid Redesign Team, The Home Care Association rallied members at the Capitol today. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.

Last week's recommendations by the Medicaid Redesign Team, MRT for short, ruffled the feathers of home care providers, with advocates fearful that millions of dollars in MRT cuts is tantamount to "a destructive gutting of New York's Home Care System." Home Care advocates believe they didn't have proper recognition before the MRT.

The MRT session was regarded as "surprisingly short" by people like Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who chairs the Health Committee in the Assembly: When the MRT votes were tabulated, 20 were in favor of proposed cuts, 4 abstained and 3 were absent. Gottfried was one of those who abstained.

With an April 1 budget deadline looming, the Legislature, which advocates point out has been largely marginalized from the MRT process, has little more than a month to wade through and decide how to amend or reject the many proposals affecting care for millions of patients. Senator David Valesky from Central New York chairs the Aging Committee; he is one-fourth of the breakaway independent democratic conference. Valesky addressed rallygoers, assuring them that there is hope. The advocates say all they want is for Legislators to "come through" and "provide pushback" against the MRT proposals. They're spending the next few days visiting lawmakers, in anticipation an alternate plan can be developed to stave off what they fear will be a health care disaster.