Press release – Memorial Services Conducted for Disabled New Yorkers Murdered by Cuomo Administration Medicaid Cuts


For More information:
Ericka Jones: (585) 261-1594,
Katy Carroll: (631) 521-3018,

WHAT: Memorial Services
WHERE: New York State Plaza Concourse
WHEN: August 7, 2019

Memorial Services Conducted for Disabled New Yorkers Murdered by Cuomo Administration Medicaid Cuts

Disabled people and our friends, family, and personal attendants gather today to mourn the loss of those who will be murdered by the Cuomo administration’s decision to cut Medicaid funding and destroy the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). Today, mourners honor Ericka Jones, Kendra Scalia, Denise DiNoto, Michael Volkman, Angela Harmer and other CDPAP consumers who rely on attendant services and whose lives are being sacrificed by the devastating policies of the State Department of Health (DOH).

CDPAP allows disabled people to live happier, healthier, and free lives in the community. Without it, we lack choice over who assists with intimate personal care. Some can rely on unpaid caregivers but most are simply sent to institutional settings where we are guaranteed impersonal and dismal care, segregation, and situations ripe for our abuse and neglect. Continued access to CDPAP looks unlikely as the Department of Health is implementing new rates of Medicaid reimbursement for the fiscal intermediaries (FIs) which administer CDPAP.

“The new rates are wholly inadequate to allow FIs to function. They will close, and consumers will be unable to choose CDPAP and avoid life in a nursing home,” explained Jonathan Dollhopf, an organizer with Rochester ADAPT. Documents sent to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) by the State DOH indicate the State is fully aware that the rates will lead to greater institutionalization of disabled people. They say that “[the Department] is currently unaware of any access issues; particularly since there is excess bed capacity for both hospitals and nursing homes.”

“We lose our freedom and our lives in nursing homes, and the State government is just fine with that?!” demanded Blaise Bryant, a member of Capital Region ADAPT. “The service today is to show that the impact is real, and it kills.”

The services will include song and words shared by those who know them. “But we can bring some hope into this dark day,” said Alex Thompson, a member of Capital Region ADAPT. “Governor Cuomo can end this now. We are asking for a rescission of the policies that will kill people and for the Department of Health to work with us to create a better way to pay for services.”