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The Times
  • Seward: Correction needed to ensure care for children most in need

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  • State Senator James Seward this week announced his support for a swift solution to a billing situation that has placed Early Intervention Program services for hundreds of special needs children at risk.
    “Worried parents and dedicated providers alike have contacted me in regard to the newly created complexities in the Early Intervention Program payment system,” said Seward, R - Oneonta, in a news release. “Providers are not being paid, and, more significantly, children in need of vital services are going without the care they desperately need. Swift action must be taken to correct this detrimental situation.”
    The New York State Early Intervention Program is part of the national Early Intervention Program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families and is administered by the New York State Department of Health. A variety of therapeutic and support services are offered to children younger than three years of age with a confirmed disability or established developmental delay.
    As part of the 2012 - 2013 state budget, a central statewide administrator of the Early Intervention Program was approved with an eye toward mandate relief for counties which were then responsible for managing billing of the program, according to the release. The rollout of the program, however, has proved to be problematic and many providers have not been reimbursed for their services, the release said.
    “My Senate colleagues and I expressed concern that the program would not be ready by the ambitious implementation date of April 1 and encouraged a delayed start. Based on the problematic reports coming in to my office, postponing the change would have been a prudent step,” said Seward.
    Seward is also questioning the selection of an out of state company, Massachusetts-based Public Consulting Group, as the permanent fiscal agent for the Early Intervention Program and plans to move call center jobs for the program to Tennessee.
    “While I am sure that Public Consulting Group is a reputable organization, I have to express my sincere disappointment that New York state tax dollars are being used to create jobs in Tennessee. That seems to run counter to the governor’s “New York Open for Business” campaign, which is designed to attract and grow businesses here in New York,” he said.
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