March 8, 2024 

Albany, NY: The Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP) vehemently opposes the proposed changes to the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) announced in the Governor’s 30-day budget amendments. These amendments, which aim to outsource management of the program, threaten to undermine the fundamental principles and effectiveness of CDPAP by shifting control away from consumers and local organizations that deeply understand their needs.

The proposed outsourcing would not only compromise the integrity of CDPAP but also risk the quality of care that thousands of New Yorkers rely on. CDPAP was designed to empower consumers, giving them the ability to manage their own care through personal assistants. This arrangement fosters independence and ensures that care is personalized and responsive to individual needs. By allowing consumers to select, train, and work directly with their assistants, CDPAP not only promotes better health outcomes but also ensures a more cost-effective use of resources.

Outsourcing the management of CDPAP to entities driven by profit motives, such as private equity-backed organizations, would prioritize financial gains over the welfare of program participants. This approach risks introducing inefficiencies and reducing the quality of care, as these entities often lack the localized knowledge and commitment to consumer empowerment that are vital to the program’s success.

Moreover, the proposed changes fail to address the real issues within the system, such as the unethical behavior of certain bad actors and the need for more robust oversight of program expenditures. Instead, they threaten to disrupt the lives of our most vulnerable populations by reducing access to essential services and supports that enable them to live independently.

MHEP stands firm in our commitment to protecting and advancing the rights of all individuals to manage their own care. We urge the Governor to reconsider these proposals and work with us and other stakeholders to strengthen CDPAP without compromising its core values of consumer direction and personal empowerment. The focus should remain on enhancing the program’s integrity and efficiency, rather than dismantling a system that has successfully served New Yorkers for decades.