Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

Commissioner's Messages

Dear Friends and Colleagues:  The month of November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) asks that everyone Focus on Epilepsy and how it affects the lives of the more than 215,000 New Yorkers who live with that condition.* Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that causes recurring unprovoked seizures. While most think of seizures as convulsions, there are many different seizure types with many possible symptoms ranging from convulsions, isolated involuntary bodily movements, staring spells, periods of confusion,...
Dear Friends and Colleagues, The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is pleased to announce the opportunity for public comment on the draft 1915(c) Comprehensive Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) 2019 Waiver Renewal.  The HCBS Waiver is the Medicaid program that provides opportunities for adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities to receive services in their own home or community. The draft 2019 Waiver Renewal includes updates to the OPWDD quality improvement strategy to reflect current workgroups and committees, allows Nurse...
Dear Friends and Colleagues, As a former direct support professional at a not-for-profit agency in Massachusetts in my earlier years, I know how hard direct support professionals work every day to ensure that people with developmental disabilities have the supports they need to live, work and enjoy life as independently as possible. No one does more than direct support professionals to ensure that the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities carries out its mission of helping people live richer lives in their communities.  Our direct support workforce is approximately 13,000...
Dear Friends and Colleagues, In November of 2016, the Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board was created to help provide guidance and information to New York officials, individuals with an autism spectrum disorder, and families seeking reliable information regarding available services and supports. The ASD Advisory Board has organized workgroups and held public forums in a variety of locations throughout the state to receive input on a number of topics from individuals, families, providers and professionals about how supports for people on the autism disorder spectrum can be improved. Based...
Friends and Colleagues,  During National Nurses Week, May 6 to 12, I would like to extend a special thank you to all nurses who, day in and day out, make it their mission to serve people with developmental disabilities.  OPWDD employs 1,463 nurses statewide, which includes Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, Infection Control Nurses, Community Mental Health Nurses, and Nurse Administrators, as well as temporary or part-time staff.  Below are only a few of examples of what our nurses do out in the field every day: Advocate with health care providers and others...
Dear Friends and Colleagues: Throughout the month of April, which is Autism Awareness Month, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) will be shining a Spotlight on Autism through an online campaign featuring an interactive “spotlight” and a downloadable poster that anyone can print and display in their home or business. OPWDD proudly supports more than 30,000 New Yorkers with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The word “spectrum” is important in understanding ASD because it refers to the wide range of behavioral signs, symptoms and degrees of severity that affect...
Dear Friends and Colleagues, The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is amending the 1915 (c) Comprehensive Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to align HCBS Waiver services with the Community First Choice Option (CFCO) Medicaid State Plan available on July 1. CFCO is a new option which expands the access and availability of services for people in need of long-term care so that they can remain safely in or return to the community.    Included in the amendment are the following items: •    Update to Community Habilitation fee schedule to...
UPDATE:  "Managed Care:  The Future of Supports Forum" is now available via WebEx for individuals and families who are not available to attend in person.  To register to participate, click or copy the link provided below into your browser and follow the instructions: Thursday, November 29, 2018, 12 noon-2:00 p.m. (Schenectady): https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/onstage/g.php?MTID=efd9 You will receive confirmation of your registration.  Information on how to launch a WebEx session is available at this link. In addition, a forum has been added: North CountryWednesday,...
Dear Friends and Colleagues: During October, New York State joins the nation in celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month to recognize the unique talents, creativity and skills that people with disabilities bring to the workforce. To highlight the positive contributions that people with disabilities can make in the workplace, New York is launching the EmployAbility Pledge which encourages businesses to commit to embracing a philosophy of inclusivity and to join us in creating communities that seek to include individuals with all abilities. The Pledge builds on the efforts of...

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