Official update on the enacted NYS budget from ACTS

April 23, 2024 | ACTS in Action, ACTS in Albany

Here is an official update on the enacted NYS budget from ACTS:

• A 5% increase for in-person services for Early Intervention was approved in the NYS Budget that was just passed, but we do not expect to actually begin receiving payments at that higher rate of reimbursement for quite some time, perhaps 3 to 6 months, since this is how long it may take DOH to implement the change. We are inquiring with NYSDOH for more specifics on when they expect it to be implemented.

• The 4% rural/underserved increase is effective 4/1/2025, which is about one year from now, and we will need to see how the NYSDOH plans on defining the areas eligible for that modifier, but it appears it will be a narrow area based upon certain zip codes of residence.

• There are three (3) potentially devastating administrative proposals that were NOT eliminated in the budget, which is extremely disappointing, of course. To summarize, here they are:

(1) Prohibition of multiple extended ABA visits in the same day (limiting children to one ABA session per day);

(2) A substantial reduction in the rates for telehealth visits to match the facility-based visit rates; and

(3) A reduction in the maximum size of developmental groups to six children.

Importantly, no formal announcement has yet to be made by NYSDOH about these three changes, and we await crucial details from NYSDOH on when and how these may be implemented. ACTS will be meeting with NYSDOH to seek further clarification on specifics and their implementation plans. We are exploring ways to get these devastating administrative proposals revised and we will work to oppose and delay these changes in the rulemaking process. ACTS will keep you informed on any important developments, of course.

• School Psychologists will no longer be allowed in EI after 6/30/24, meaning that only licensed (Ph.D.) psychologists will be allowed to work in Early Intervention.

While the 5% increase in rates is the first in many years, it is obviously very concerning that this modest increase is offset, and possibly even negated, by the proposed drastic cuts to ABA and group services and decreases in the telehealth rates.

We will redouble our efforts with NYSDOH and in the remaining months of the Legislative session to stave off these devastating changes to Early Intervention. We will continue to advocate in Albany for sensible strategies and support for the Early Intervention Program.