Politics As It Happens: Budget Agreement Finalized; Final Passage Expected by Week’s End

See the Governor’s press release summarizing the final budget deal for FY 12-13:  http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/03272012budgetagreement

Key agreements in areas impacting persons with developmental disabilities include the following:

A) Article 7 budget language pertaining to Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) as well as Office of Mental Health, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Office of Children and Family Services, Office of Temporary Disability Services, Department of Health, Office of the Aging, Division of Criminal Justice Services and Office of Victim Services.

Governor's Seal

1)      Executive Compensation – the Legislature rejected the Governor’s Article 7 budget language limiting executive compensation to no more than $199,000 in State funds.  Instead the Legislature opted to allow the Governor to handle the issue administratively, through the Governor’s Executive Order #38.

The Executive Order (see http://www.governor.ny.gov/executiveorder/38) imposes the same terms and conditions contained in the budget language rejected by the Legislature.

Specific details regarding implementation are yet to be developed.

2)      Cap on administrative expenses – The Governor’s Article 7 budget language proposed limiting administrative expenses to 25% in the upcoming fiscal year, scaling down to 15% by 2015.  The Legislature rejected the Governor’s language.  Instead it opted once again to defer to Executive Order #38 which imposes essentially the same conditions as contained in budget language.

Given differences between State agencies impacted by the Executive Order, it appears that specific implementation details are being worked out collaboratively between the Division of the Budget, Governor’s Office and impacted State agencies.  Following that, each agency will promulgate its own regulations.

The Governor, Division of the Budget, and OPWDD appear to be sensitive to OPWDD provider concerns that current differences between various State agencies on the definition of “administration” place OPWDD providers at a distinct disadvantage.

3)      Language requiring “annual adjustment” payments – This appears to have been rejected by the Legislature.

4)      Human Services COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) – The Governor’s budget language would have rejected the COLA.  Instead, the Legislature suspended for the upcoming fiscal year,  until April 1, 2013.

B) Budget issues pertaining specifically to the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities

1)      Language Authorizing Pilot Projects for the 1115 Waiver and waiving competitive bidding requirements for such pilots – This language was rejected by the Legislature.

The Legislature’s aim was to continue to deny the Governor’s requested waiver of competitive bidding requirements.   The Legislature maintains that the Governor does not need language to go forward with the Pilot Projects but instead can rely on administrative/executive authority.

2)       Elimination of DDSO/Restructuring of OPWDD – The Governor’s language eliminating DDSOs in favor of another regional design was rejected by the Legislature.

Instead, the Legislature inserted new budget language dividing administrative responsibilities at the regional level between a director of State operations and another director responsible for other than State operated programs.

C) Department of Health

Early Intervention

  • The requirement for a “Fiscal Intermediary” was accepted by the Legislature.
  • The Legislature rejected language for a so called “independent evaluator”.
  •  The Legislature inserted language which appears to require providers to bill third party payors (Medicaid, private health insurance) before seeking payment from the fiscal intermediary. This language will however require further clarification.

Preschool  –  While the Education bill has not been printed, it appears that here also the Legislature rejected language calling for the “independent evaluator.”