Independence Care System (ICS) is a managed long-term care plan (MLTC) that has been serving people with disabilities (PWD’s) for the past 18 years. ICS provides custom mobility devices, home care services, expert wound care, access to women healthcare, and so much more. There are rumors going around that the NY State Department of Health (DOH) wants ICS to either merge with another MLTC plan or shut it down.
ICS is in financial difficulty due to insufficient funding from DOH. Although they’re not supposed to, most other MLTCs try not to take on members with high needs. Because ICS is paid the same rate per member per month as those other MLTCs, our Medicaid dollars do not stretch as far as they do in other plans. Therefore, ICS incurs higher costs but does not receive more funding to cover those higher costs from DOH.
Other plans don’t provide nearly the same services as ICS does. If ICS closes and members are forced on to other plans they will likely see reduced services that will put them at grave risk to go into nursing homes, become home bound, have more secondary complications, and the list of negative impacts can go on and on. PWDs have made ICS their plan of choice not by chance, but because they have had bad experiences with other plans who are not particularly interested in serving PWDs and/or those with high needs.
Due to ICS’s expertise in caring for those with disabilities, thousands of PWDs are living in the community, keeping them out of nursing homes and hospitals, which is of great importance for adhering to the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision. ICS provides long-term services and prevents its members from secondary health conditions, such pressure sores and infections; saving the State high health costs. If ICS does not get the properly funded to continue serving PWDs, its members will suffer dramatically by losing much needed services, which will lead to many needing to go into institutions and much greater healthcare costs for NYS.
The last few months, Alex and Sharifa from Wheeling Forward have been leading the Civics League for Disability Rights (CLDR). CLDR is an advocacy group for New Yorkers with disabilities who want to learn how to be effective advocates for themselves and their communities. Alex and Sharifa have been working the Civics League to save ICS, including taking the following actions:
- We launched a petition on Change.org, which as of May 11th, has more than 3,500 signatures.
- We collected and mailed over 150 letters from members addressed to Governor Cuomo, telling him what being an ICS member means to us.
- We visited with legislators in Albany urging them to help save ICS
- We are building a network among disability rights organizations, providers, and politicians to get the message out that ICS members deserve to have a thriving ICS on their side.
Alex and Sharifa were interviewed on Lite FM about their advocacy efforts to make sure that ICS stays open. You can listen to the interview here: https://bit.ly/2HZM3AW
Please stand with ICS and it’s more than 6500 members with disabilities and chronic health conditions by signing this petition. You’re asking Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to fully fund ICS and keep it independent for the many New Yorkers with disabilities and chronic health conditions who depend on ICS services to remain healthy and independent in their communities, rather than be forced to live in institutions.