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New Rules for New Yorkers: Home or Nursing Home?

March 27, 2012

NEW YORK - New state rules are in the works that could decide where low-income seniors and New Yorkers with disabilities wind up residing.

The Cuomo administration is getting some expert advice today from local consumer advocates to ensure that most low-income New Yorkers and people with disabilities end up living at home, rather than in nursing homes. New York is currently making new rules to coordinate health-care costs.

Susan Dooha, executive director at the Center for Independence of the Disabled (CIDNY), says studies show most people prefer to live at home, and living at home tends to produce better health outcomes.

"And the states, by the way they set these plans up, can make it easier or harder for people to stay at home, by the way they make the money work."

The administration says their efforts to coordinate health services will save taxpayers money, by doing away with duplication and unnecessary costs. Dooha agrees there are potential savings to be had, so long as the administration complies with the recent U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision. She says it gives most New Yorkers the right to live at home, rather than in an institution.

Dooha says her coalition is providing suggestions to both the New York Department of Health and to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"We looked all across the country at the way other states are doing this, about how the plans should work, so that it isn't cheaper to put people away than it is to keep them at home."

Dooha says she is optimistic the administration will accept the suggestions, because Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed the civil rights of New Yorkers with disabilities in his State of the State message.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY