SOS Response

January 9, 2020

Today’s Crain’s Health Pulse includes an article (below) highlighting the Governor’s SOS comments regarding the state’s $6B budget deficit.  The Governor was silent regarding specific proposals to close the deficit other than to discuss local Medicaid spending, and a new Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) initiative to continue reform of our Medicaid Program.  There was no discussion regarding major revenue raising proposals.   And while there were several positive new initiatives in areas including foster care kinship, suicide prevention for veterans utilizing a trauma-informed care approach, use of peers to assist New Yorkers struggling with addictions and mention of more money for affordable housing, the Governor failed to discuss his intent to respond positively to the human services sector and our requests for an immediate infusion of resources.

We were disappointed to learn that a recently announced expansion of the Governor’s Workforce Development Initiative does not appear to prioritize the critical needs (present and future) of our Human Services workforce.  But NYS Council members will have a unique opportunity to meet Madhurri Kommareddi, the Governor’s new Director of Workforce Initiatives who will be joining us during our upcoming Annual Business Meeting in Albany on February 4.   All NYS Council members and their key staff are urged to attend this meeting as we meet with state leaders who have the ability to change our future

Demonstrate your support for our high priorities to include our sector-wide request for a 3% funding increase over each of the next 5 years (‘3for5’ Campaign); additional resources to fight the Opioid Epidemic and escalating rates of completed suicides, a set aside for our sector from future disbursements of the Centene-Fidelis merger funds, and to defend against any/all damaging proposals included in the upcoming executive budget proposal.

PLEASE JOIN US IN ALBANY FOR THIS IMPORTANT 1 1/2 DAY MEETING!  Just let us know you want to attend and we will send you all the details and assist with hotels, etc.  Call me at 518 461-8200 or send me a note:


Crain’s Health Pulse article

As the state faces a multi–billion-dollar Medicaid deficit and has proposed a 1% cut to providers as a first step in addressing the shortfall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday in his State of the State address hinted at more actions to come.

In particular, he called on local governments.

“For six years, we have been paying all of the increased costs in local Medicaid spending and holding local governments harmless,” he said.

This year alone that will equate to $4 billion. About $2 billion is going to covering the local costs for the city.

“We can’t separate administration from accountability,” Cuomo said. “It is too easy to write a check when you don’t sign it.”

The governor called the situation unsustainable and pointed to past reform as a benchmark for the future.

Previously the state restructured Medicaid with its Medicaid Redesign Team program, he said. “MRT made Medicaid better than ever before, and we will do it again this year.”

Although Cuomo took an optimistic tone on the dire fiscal issue, Medicaid providers across the state remained concerned over funds on the chopping block.

“We are concerned that the recent 1% across-the-board cut the state has imposed will jeopardize plans’ ability to continue to serve the state’s most vulnerable residents and support the ongoing measures the state expects in the transition to value-based payment arrangements,” Eric Linzer, president and CEO of the state Health Plan Association, said in a statement.

At the same time Linzer lauded Cuomo’s attention to addressing prescription drug costs, saying “significant increases pharmaceutical companies charge pose a major threat to keeping health care affordable for employers and consumers.”

Dr. Ramon Tallaj, founder and chairman of the board of Somos, echoed that sentiment: “The governor’s proposed cap on insulin co-payments will help to alleviate the burden of skyrocketing drug prices and improve the lives of so many New Yorkers battling the chronic fight against diabetes.”

Cuomo also addressed what he called a new and deadly public health threat facing the state: vaping.

“Big Tobacco has come back to life in a different wrapper,” Cuomo said. “We don’t yet know the dangers of vaping, but young Americans are dying to find out.”

As vaping companies challenge the state’s ban in court, Cuomo called on state lawmakers to pass—as one of the first priorities this seasons—clear and strict restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes.

He lobbied yet again for the legalization of adult-use marijuana, including establishing a global laboratory on cannabis research.

Cuomo further referenced successes in combating the opioid crisis and called expanding access to medication-assisted treatment a continued priority, along with banning all versions of fentanyls and synthetic opioids. —Jennifer Henderson