Making Our Voices Heard – An Update on the Federal Medicaid Waiver Public Hearing

by Jenny Bright, Intern, Health Justice Program

Thank you to everyone who joined us and testified at the public hearing on June 18 concerning the federal Medicaid waiver amendment!  About 70-80 people attended the public hearing and roughly 50 of them testified.  Jason Helgerson, Medicaid Director, New York State Department of Health, oversaw the public hearing and gave an overview of the Medicaid Redesign Team Waiver Amendment (his presentation and other informational material can be found on the MRT Waiver Website).

NYLPI’s entire HJ team provided testimony during the hearing. Shena Elrington, Director, advocated for transparency during the waiver process and asked that the public be given adequate notice of opportunities for input. Jennifer Swayne, Staff Attorney, discussed the importance of including provisions within the waiver that address barriers to mental health services for children.  Alyssa Aguilera, Community Organizer, spoke about our work in Brooklyn as part of the Save Our Safety Net Campaign and the need to ensure that the waiver amendment helps Brooklyn residents who were badly hurt by the cost-saving measures of the Medicare Redesign Team in 2011.  Finally, Kate Terenzi, Program Assistant, spoke about language access and the need to make subsequent hearings and opportunities for public input accessible to New Yorkers with limited English proficiency.

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