NYAIL works with ILCs to ensure the rights of all individuals with disabilities are protected, through individual advocacy, legislative and administrative systemic advocacy, grassroots organizing and, when necessary, direct action aimed at focusing the attention of decision-makers on the voice of people with disabilities who are impacted by their decisions.

Through our work with individuals, ILCs identify the pressure points and the need for systemic changes throughout disability service systems. For decades, New York's ILCs have successfully advocated for major systemic changes throughout disability service systems that have helped the state to advance policies of community integration and move people with disabilities from institutions and other segregated settings to the community, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision. Major successes of the ILC community's advocacy include the creation of the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC), the state Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities program, the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Medicaid waiver programs, and the NHTD and TBI waiver housing subsidies. ILCs were involved in the creation of, and many currently serve as Fiscal Intermediaries for, the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, which allows individuals to hire, supervise and fire their own personal assistants.

Most significantly, the ILC community, in collaboration with ADAPT, is working to ensure the State effectively implements the Community First Choice Option under federal health reform. Through our advocacy, Governor Cuomo in 2011 committed to choose the CFC Option and in December 2013 submitted the proposed State Plan Amendment to CMS. In October 2015, the Community First Choice Option was finally approved by CMS. The transformative power of CFC is the key to and can serve as the cornerstone of the State's Olmstead Implementation plan. The implementation of CFC will lead to a dramatically changed service system, in which people are served based on their functional needs, not their diagnosis, and in which community-based services are the first choice, instead of institutions. Through CFC, the State will draw down an additional 6% Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for services under the program.

In October 2013, Governor Cuomo issued the long awaited Olmstead Implementation Plan detailing how the State intends to comply with the Supreme Court's Olmstead v. L.C. decision of 1999 to ensure individuals with disabilities receive services and supports in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. The plan commits to reducing the long term stay nursing facility population by 10 percent across the next five years, and continues deinstitutionalization efforts in the developmental disability and mental health systems through the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities' Transformation Agreement with the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the Office of Mental Health's development of the Regional Centers of Excellence. Supporting these efforts is the State's participation in federal long term care initiatives such as the Balancing Incentive Program, Community First Choice Option and the Open Doors (MFP) Demonstration, all of which are designed to assist states in their efforts to increase access to community based services and supports. NYAIL and the Independent Living Center network have taken on a leadership role in these transition efforts through their partnership with the State in the Open Doors (MFP) program.

To that end, we urge the Legislature to take action in the 2017-18 Budget to support the State's efforts towards the full integration of New Yorkers with disabilities.

NYAIL's 2017 priority proposals for legislative and administrative action include:

Additional resources on NYAIL’s priority issues: