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Bill to Extend Services to Developmentally Disabled Heads to Governor

By Fox 40 Staff.
Both houses of the New York State Legislature have passed a bill which sponsors - including Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Tom Libous - say would ensure that state services are still provided to the developmentally disabled.

This as the Greater Binghamton Health Center is reducing it's number of beds and the Broome Developmental Center is closing as part of a state effort to integrate those with developmental disabilities into community settings.

The legislation would keep patients in a state facility until state- supported services outside of that facility are available. The bill drew criticism from Southern Tier Independence Center. The agency says it allows people to stay under state care because of personal preference, as opposed to medical need. But Lupardo says the bill is necessary.

"We are concerned that when people leave these facilities, that they receive the same level of care that they have been used to receiving, and we're worried that because the transition is happening so fast, that mistakes could be potentially being made, that we want to avoid," said Lupardo.

The bill would also have the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities develop a list of services not currently available with a plan to address unmet needs the following fiscal year. The bill will now go to Governor Cuomo's office for final approval, although Lupardo is not sure whether the Governor will sign it.