New York, NY – On July 22, 2021 members of Downstate New York ADAPT gathered outside of Governor Andrew Coumo’s Manhattan office at 633 3rd Avenue, as disabled activists across New York are furious with the State’s refusal to pass bills A.5367 and S.5028 to repeal deadly restrictions to home care access amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Cuomo is moving forward with restricting access to life-saving home care programs that will result in an influx of forced placements in institutions after thousands have already died due to our Governor’s negligence. He has continued to show little remorse for his actions. After responding with “who cares” to the Attorney General’s investigative report into his office’s handling of the undercounted Nursing Home deaths, he has since not responded to ongoing demands from his constituents to bolster home care options.
Restricting eligibility for home care will violate the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision,1 a legal mandate that the State must provide services in the least restrictive setting. The new home care eligibility criteria is antithetical to the values of Olmstead because it relies on an algorithm and assessment tool that excludes many vital tasks of community living (like cooking, shopping, laundry, etc), making it actually stricter than the criteria for Nursing Homes. If this does not get repealed, disabled people across the State will be forced into institutionalized care.
This continued attitude of apathy and neglect is also in conflict with President Biden’s plan to invest in home and community based services. According to Philip Bennett, long-time health care professional, Governor Cuomo’s policies have consistently proven to the disability community that the Governor favors institutions special interests over community integration.
Institutions lead to an increase in healthcare spending for a lesser quality of care. Bennett says, “A few years ago my aunt was in a nursing home… the cost to tax-payers was $550 per day just for her. I got her home and set her up with home care, and the cost decreased to $148. Not only is the slant to nursing homes morally devoid, but fiscally irresponsible.”
© Erik McGregor – firstname.lastname@example.org – 917-225-8963