Physical and Mental Health Policy

Then-peer advocate Liliete Lopez discussing the impact of Medicaid redesign on her disabilities.

We work in coalitions, provide testimony and feedback on legislation, conduct listening sessions, and speak to the press about issues people with disabilities face in health care.

Our 2024 Physical Health and Mental Health Legislative Agenda items include the following:

CIDNY supports “The Ounce of Prevention Act.” (A6027 Paulin/S1366 Rivera): This would prevent medical debt by making hospital financial assistance more accessible and ensuring money allocated for charity care is used for that purpose.

CIDNY Supports Full Fair Pay 4 Home Care – S.3189 (2023-2024): There has long been a homecare worker shortage in parts of the State, making it difficult for people to obtain home care, which has worsened to the point of crisis throughout the State. The home care crisis has surpassed the lack of accessible and affordable housing as the primary barrier to transitioning people out of nursing facilities back into the Community, which is the work of CIDNY’s Open Doors program. The State has an obligation under the Supreme Court decision, Olmstead v. L.C., to provide people with support and services in the community, yet the lack of available 4 home care is forcing people who want to leave to remain in institutions. We acknowledge and appreciate the three-dollar increase included in the previous Budget but know that it will not adequately address the ongoing home care crisis. Full Fair Pay for Home Care would raise wages for home care workers and consumer-directed personal assistants to $22.50/hr., or 150% of the highest minimum wage in each region, equivalent to what homecare workers earned in 2006, before the failure to keep up with rising wages in other sectors. It would also establish regional minimum hourly reimbursement to providers that allow them to pay these wages without going out of business.

CIDNY supports increased funding for Community Health Advocates (CHA), the State’s health care consumer assistance program, at $5.234 million: Since 2010, CHA has helped New Yorkers, including many people with disabilities, all over the State navigate their health insurance plans to get what they need, and has saved New Yorkers over $100 million. People with serious illnesses and disabilities especially need this assistance so that they can get appropriate services and supports. CHA’s contact information now appears on Medicaid notices, which means more patients will use the program. Additionally, with the end of the public health emergency rules, many people will be transitioning between health insurance and experience gaps in coverage that will require urgent resolution. CHA’s funding should be maintained at $5.234 million.

CIDNY supports increased state share funding for the Long-term Care Ombudsprogram to $15 million: The Long-Term Care Ombudsprogram (LTCOP) serves as an advocate and resource for people living in nursing facilities and other institutions. The program is intended to promote and protect patient’s rights as well as their health and safety by receiving, investigating, and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of residents. During the pandemic thousands of nursing facility residents died, and they continue to die due to the virus and lack of care. The program has been dealing with visitation issues, inappropriate discharges, psychotropic drugging and other serious problems with only minimal resources. The LTCOP receives federal funding, but it is insufficient to provide adequate services in New York State. New York’s match is one of the lowest in the nation, leaving providers overly reliant on 5 volunteers. The State Comptroller released a report which found that many residents in long term care facilities lack representation from an Ombudsman due to lack of volunteers and paid staff. The report found that statewide, there are about half the recommended number of full-time staff. It found that in New York City alone, 23 more full-time staff would be required. The legislature should increase State share funding of the Long-term Care Ombudsprogram to $15 million.

CIDNY supports establishing a statewide emergency and crisis response council “Daniel’s Law” (A2210 Bronson/S2398 Brouk): An act to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to establishing the statewide emergency and crisis response council to plan and provide support regarding the operation and financing of high-quality emergency and crisis response services for persons experiencing a mental health, alcohol use, or substance use crisis.

CIDNY supports S7800/A8470 which relates to long term care options for Medicaid recipients: This bill repeals managed long term care provisions for Medicaid recipients. It establishes provisions for fully integrated plans for long term care including PACE and MAP plans.

CIDNY supports Stop SUNY Suing bill S7778/A8170: This bill prohibits state-operated hospitals from suing patients for medical debt. It defines ‘medical debt.’

CIDNY supports S2503/A4926 which creates New York Funded Statewide Deafblind CoNavigator Program: This bill establishes a co-navigation services program for persons who are deafblind to provide services that assist the person to physically access the person’s environment and to make informed decisions, including providing visual and environmental information or sighted guide services and assisting with communication accessibility by communicating in the preferred language and communication mode of the person who is deaf-blind.

CIDNY supports S504/A414: Lowers the cost sharing cap for insulin: This bill reduces the cap on cost sharing for insulin from the current $100 per insulin prescription per month to $30 per month, in aggregate, for all insulin drugs.

CIDNY also supports the programs of Mental Health association in NYS:

  • Human services workforce funding in 20324
  • History of the human services cost of living adjustment (COLA) in NY
  • MHANYS behavioral health career pipeline proposal
  • Behavioral health parity
  • Non-profit pension study bill drafted by MHANYS
  • Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) information MHANYS mental health and higher education proposal
  • MHANYS mental health and higher education draft legislation
  • Leave of absence policy guidance for higher education


Previous Health Policy Agendas are available here.


Previous issues: Dismantling of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)Non-Medical Switching (Forcing Patients to Change Medications, NYFAHC Comments on HHS Proposed Regulations that Could Threaten NYS Health Insurance Market


Founding Steering Committee Member, Health Care for All New York

Medicaid Matters New York

Association New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage (NYFAHC)


The voice of everyday people on issues of health coverage.