CHP: Assembly, Senate Propose Cost-Of-Living Adjustment For the Human Services Workforce

NYAPRS Note: As we reported Tuesday, we’re thrilled that both houses of the legislature are recognizing the crisis in our work force by allocating the $141 million associated with a 2.9% Cost of Living Adjustment for the human services workforce and the agencies in which they work. The Joint Legislative Mental Hygiene subcommittee met a short time ago and members of both houses strong urged that final negotiations include the COLA. Stay by the phone: we may ask you do join a call in drive in the coming days.

Assembly, Senate Propose Cost-Of-Living Adjustment For Direct-Care Workers

Crain’s Health Pulse  March 14, 2019

State Assembly and Senate budget resolutions proposed a cost-of-living adjustment for human-services workers that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal defers.

The Assembly reiterated in a statement Wednesday afternoon that its budget proposal recommended more than $141 million for cost-of-living raises to providers in the Offices of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Mental Health, Persons With Developmental Disabilities and Temporary and Disability Assistance, as well as the Office for the Aging.

"This will help recruit and retain vital front-line professionals and prevent some of the fiscal strain on programs struggling to remain open in the midst of record rates of overdose and addiction," John Coppola, executive director of the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Members of the association gathered last week at the state Capitol to call for more workforce funding to end what the group says is an opioid, heroin and fentanyl pandemic. It said it is requesting $40 million to strengthen compensation for and expand the state's treatment staff and $30 million to strengthen compensation for addiction-prevention staff in schools and communities as well as $5 million to expand recovery staff and certify 1,250 new peer workers.

The #bFair2DirectCare campaign, which represents more than 130,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, weighed in on the wage proposals. In a statement, the campaign thanked Assembly leaders for proposing a third phase of funding to provide a living wage for direct-care workers, as well as for reinstituting a "long-delayed" cost-of-living adjustment for nonprofits that serve people with developmental disabilities.

Coppola added that both houses would improve upon the "woeful" 0.1 percent increase in Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services local assistance funding proposed by the governor. —J.H.