Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

Willowbrook Liaison Job Expectations

Type: pdf
Author: Lori Lehmkuhl
Year of Publishing: 2013


The Willowbrook litigation commenced in U.S. District Court in 1972 seeking to correct unacceptable conditions at the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, NY. The Willowbrook Consent Decree became effective on behalf of class members on May 5, 1972. This lawsuit was not only a landmark case and catalyst for the State of New York to reform its service system for people with developmental disabilities, but it also became a symbol for raising the conscience of the nation to support deinstitutionalized care and treatment and to establish high standards for humane conditions both in residential settings and institutional environments. The Willowbrook Permanent Injunction, which was signed in 1993, represents the current standards of services for class members. 

Willowbrook Liaisons are local experts on services for Willowbrook class members.  The following represents a comprehensive description of the expectations, roles and responsibilities of the WB Liaisons.  These include but are not limited to:

Overall Responsibilities:

  1. Has in-depth knowledge of the Permanent Injunction and all areas covered including:
    • Active Representation
    • Communication protocol including all due process and other notifications
    • Consumer Advisory Board
    • Aging
    • Community inclusion
    • Community placement
    • Guardianship
    • Case Management/Service Coordination
    • Team reviews/planning
    • Incident reporting
    • Informed consent
    • Money management assessment.
    • End of Life Decision Making (MOLST)
  2. Serves as day to day liaison between OPWDD Statewide Willowbrook Liaison and the field including state operated and voluntary agency sector providers (voluntary Willowbrook MSC/WCS/WSC).
    WB: Willowbrook, MSC: Medicaid Service Coordinator, WCS: Willowbrook Case Services, WSC: Willowbrook Service Coordination.
  3. Facilitates meetings at the request of the DDRO or DDSOO, CAB, class member/advocate, or Service Coordinator concerning issues with class members.
  4. Ensures that MSC/WCS/WSC meets all qualifications including: QIDP, 1:20 ratio, functional independence and all WB training requirements. Also advise of all other training requirements necessary to fulfill the role of MSC/WCS/WSC.
  5. Provides technical assistance as needed to voluntary and state operated staff serving Willowbrook class members.
  6. Communicates information on related issues to the WB MSC/WCS/WSC.
  7. Communicates as needed with local CAB representative, act as liaison between local CAB representative and providers.
  8. Assists voluntary providers with Change of Vendor process.
  9. Periodically contacts voluntary providers to determine availability and interest in MSC/WCS/WSC to serve Willowbrook class members.  Ensures that master list is updated and provide to OPWDD Statewide WB Liaison as needed.
  10. Ensures that service coordinators (directly and indirectly through coordination with Direct Care and field staff) follow CAB protocols.
  11. Monitors and follows up on medical consent requests as necessary and when needed.
  12. Provides guidelines for WB incident reporting and ensures that notifications are made appropriately and timely.
  13. Follows up with MSC/WCS/WSC to ensure that hospitalizations letters are done in a timely manner and that follow up letters (7 day and 30 day) are completed.
  14. Reviews notification letters including temporary, emergency and permanent placements/moves to ensure that they are completed accurately.
  15. Ensures that Willowbrook class members in Nursing Homes are reviewed on a timely basis by the DDRO Community Residential Opportunities (CRO) teams for appropriate placement.  Ensure that MSC/WCS/WSC for the individual in a nursing home make applications for appropriate placement needs.
  16. Ensures that Director to Director letters are sent on behalf of any class member who may be seeking residential placement outside of their region.
  17. Provides information to OPWDD Statewide WB Liaison and Counsel as needed regarding activities/events/issues involving a Willowbrook class member served in the Region including any problems/issues/deficiencies that he or she believes may implicate the Willowbrook entitlements/rights under the Permanent Injunction.

Hospitalizations & Nursing Home/Discharges/Notifications:

  1. Reiterate with residential staff and MSC/WCS/WSC that all team members are to be made aware immediately of any hospitalizations that occur.
  2. Remind MSC/WCS/WSC that a letter is required if the class member remains in hospital for seven days or longer. 
  3. Reiterate the necessity of a discharge planning meeting with team members prior to the discharge of a class member, either home or to a nursing facility.  No discharges can occur until this has happened.
  4. Ensure that the MSC/WCS/WSC is working with the residential program to prepare for the class members return home (e.g. equipment needs/supports are in place).

Change of Auspice Responsibilities:

  1. Confirms contact information and active representation status when services to a class member transitions to a new provider. This is shared with OPWDD Statewide WB Liaison, who will, in turn, share with the CAB.
  2. Provides current/updated list of voluntary agencies that are interested and willing to serve WB class members.  This list is to be updated on a regular basis.
  3. Provides information when the individual/family/legal guardian is the advocate and sets up opportunities for meetings with potential providers so they may participate.
  4. Maintains an official list of MSC/WCS/WSC choice made by individual/families/advocate.
  5. Reaches out to the family/advocate of class member if they do not respond to letter of notification in a reasonable time frame. 
  6. Encourages voluntary agency to identify a designated Administrative Liaison who will be the primary contact for the DDRO on any issues relating to the transition.


  1. Ensures that quarterly caseload reports are completed timely and correctly from Voluntary provider agencies.  Ensures compliance with WB entitlements for case management.
  2. Ensures that reports are updated as appropriate to reflect any change to representation status/contact information and add new MSC/WCS/WSC into the TABS system (voluntary providers are entering into CHOICES).
  3. Updates all reports as required.
  4. Monitors active representation entitlements and ensures the MSC/WCS/WSC are making appropriate CAB referrals for active representation.
  5. Ensures that monthly Nursing Home reports are submitted in a timely manner and are complete. 
  6. Reports to their supervisor and the Statewide WB Liaison any problem/issue/deficiencies that he or she believes implicate the Willowbrook entitlements and rights.

Special Meetings /Trainings:

  1. Meets with providers on an as needed basis to assist, guide and inform of any changes/issues regarding the role of the MSC/WCS/WSC.  This includes providing in-services to providers as needed regarding MSC/WCS/WSC protocols.
  2. Attends meetings involving class members upon request.
  3. Attends all Video Conference trainings provided by OPWDD Statewide WB Liaison and ensures attendance and handouts are provided.
  4. Provides WB Overview training to new MSC/WCS/WSC if needed prior to statewide training being offered.
  5. Ensures that reports are provided to the Independent Evaluator on all Attachment 1 class members in district.  Coordinates meetings with team to discuss on a quarterly basis where applicable.
  6. Is knowledgeable of changes in procedures or actions relating to services that may impact on the needs the class member. 
  7. Assures orientation of all state and voluntary provider staff to Willowbrook Entitlements.