Lawmakers hold forum on coronavirus effects on those with developmental disabilities

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -New York State lawmakers held a virtual forum today on the effects the coronavirus has had on those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Over the past weeks, all of us have heard from our constituents about the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the groups served by the OPWDD agency in New York, our providers, and our families and the individuals with developmental disabilities themselves,” said NYS Senator Shelley Mayer. 

Advocates say there wasn’t enough focus or resources given to their field compared to other healthcare providers like hospitals and nursing homes especially when it comes to PPE. “We were left largely to fend for ourselves in securing PPE, and we did that at extraordinary costs and effort,” said Ron Colavito, Access: Supports for Living CEO.

“We were able to through our provider associations get PPE through all channels as everyone did in this state through China, through wherever and spent a huge amount of money doing that,” said Susan Constantino, CP Unlimited President & CEO. Constantino believes the majority of agencies now have a three-month stockpile in the event of a second wave but there are still issues. “We believe that the three-month supply will allow us to be again to replenish that and to not be caught short,” Constantino said. 

“We still are faced with higher costs than other healthcare providers. We do not get to leverage the ability of large healthcare hospital systems and otherwise so we’re often using the second, third or even fourth level providers at added cost and quite honestly probably not the same quality,” Colavito said.

State Senator David Carlucci who hosted the event will be putting together a report on information learned during the forum.

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