...from the Assembly Committee on the Aging

Sheldon Silver, Speaker · Steve Englebright, Chair · Summer 2002

Assemblyman Steve Englebright

Message from the Chair

Dear Friend:

In this especially difficult budget year, much of the committee’s energy was directed toward preventing further budgetary erosion of programs and services for older New Yorkers. I am particularly pleased that we were able to accomplish successful refunding of such vital direct assistance initiatives as the Respite Care Program for the Elderly and the Social Model adult day care Program.

Similarly, we also responded proactively to the serious crisis in the State’s licensing, inspection, and enforcement of the adult home industry. In May and June we held two joint public hearings to investigate the all too often inadequate quality of care in adult homes. Immediately thereafter reform legislation was introduced to address the short and long term needs for increased oversight and accountability.

In a few years the leading edge of the baby boom generation will be eligible for retirement and the population of seniors in our state will double. Within this context I believe that we need to do more than just maintain prior year funding levels. Only proper planning and wise use of our state’s resources will enable us to deal with this dramatic demographic shift.

The Committee on Aging relies on your input for its agenda – which includes legislation, regulatory oversight, and public outreach. To do this effectively, my staff and I welcome your questions, concerns, and ideas. Please call my office at (518) 455-4804 with your ideas and suggestions. We can, as informed partners, build upon our past successes.


Steve Englebright
Chair, Assembly Committee on the Aging

Assemblyman Englebright presents Molly Linden of Albany with the New York State Legislature’s Senior of the Year Award at the Statewide Grassroots Senior Citizens Day which was held in Albany on May 15th.

Legislative Updates

Adult Home Update
In May and June, the Assembly Committees on Aging; Health; Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities; and Oversight, Analysis and Investigation held two public hearings to investigate the quality of care in adult homes. Testimony provided at the hearings identified serious weaknesses in the State’s licensing, inspection, and enforcement of the adult home industry.

Over the last decade, the Legislature created programs to improve care and services in adult homes, such as the Adult Care Facility Quality Incentive Payment program (QUIP). Unfortunately, however, effective use of these programs has been blocked.

An effective long term strategy must fix the problems with existing programs, as well as deal with whether large adult homes are appropriate for mentally ill people and those with special needs. Existing laws must be appropriately enforced to protect the health, safety and welfare of adult home residents.

In June, the Assembly Aging, Health, Mental Health, and Oversight Committee Chairs introduced adult home reform legislation (A.11783, Luster Englebright, Gottfried) to improve conditions in adult homes. Proposed changes include:

  • Forming emergency inspection and assessment teams to investigate the operation, management and quality of care in adult homes;
  • Creating a special prosecutor for adult homes to provide oversight and pursue criminal abuses;
  • Making it easier to appoint a receiver to take over the operation of a deficient adult home;
  • Establishing a Quality Enhancement fund to support resident advocacy and other adult home quality initiatives; and
  • Creating the Temporary Advisory Council on Adult Home Reform to make recommendations for long term improvements.

The Assembly’s adult home legislative reform package offers a short term emergency response along with a vision for lasting adult home improvements.

Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC)
Program Update

Beginning January 1, 2001, EPIC was expanded by increasing income eligibility limits from $18,500 to $35,000 for single seniors and from $24,000 to $50,000 for married seniors. Due to this expansion, over 287,000 seniors are currently enrolled in EPIC.

In addition, enrollment fees and co-payments were reduced by 20 percent, co-payment maximums were lowered by 5 percent, and the co-payment schedule was reduced from 5 tiers to four.

This session, the Legislature rejected a proposal to supplant State funding for EPIC if Federal funding becomes available for a senior prescription drug program. Any new Federal funding should be used to expand the current EPIC program.

Assisted Living Update
New York State has long demonstrated its commitment to providing alternatives to nursing home care for the elderly. Such alternatives include the Assisted Living Program (ALP) from Chapter 165 of the Laws of 1991, adult homes, and enriched housing. These programs provide housing and supportive services that require licensure and oversight by the State to ensure quality of care.

However, there are assisted living facilities that are not regulated by the state, causing much concern about the quality of care being provided in them. It is vital that residents of assisted living facilities receive certain protections, including full disclosure of what services are provided and their cost.

Assemblyman Englebright introduced legislation (A.9266-B) to define assisted living and require all facilities to be registered or licensed with the State, and establish important consumer protections for residents of assisted living facilities.

The measure would require these facilities to :

  • execute written residency agreements and only admit individuals whose needs can be safely met;
  • maintain and support resident and family councils;
  • allow for special court proceedings when residents are being involuntarily discharged; and
  • train staff regarding residents’ rights and be inspected by the state.

This bill passed the Assembly on August 26, 2002, and is under discussion in the Senate.

Olmstead Decision
In the 1999 Supreme Court Decision of Olmstead vs. LC, the court ruled that it is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act to discriminate against people with disabilities by only providing them services in institutions when they could be served in community-based settings. States must reevaluate how they deliver publicly funded long term care services for people with disabilities, including the aging population.

A.9913-B (Cahill) would create a council to ensure that people of all ages with disabilities receive the services they need in the most integrated setting possible. (passed both houses — awaiting the Governor’s signature)

Predatory Lending
The predatory nature of mortgage lending in the sub-prime market includes deceptive and high pressure marketing tactics, financing unwanted and overpriced insurance products, assessing excessive points and fees, and providing loans to individuals without regard to their ability to repay. These practices often leave borrowers with little ability to repay their loans and lead to the loss of their homes.

Elderly homeowners are especially vulnerable to predatory lending practices. As a result, many unsuspecting senior homeowners have been induced by unscrupulous home improvement contractors and mortgage lenders to enter into high cost home loans that they cannot afford and have lost their homes.

A bill passed this year, A.11856, would protect consumers, especially elderly and minority homeowners, against abuses in the sub-prime lending market by defining high cost home loans, prohibiting certain abusive practices usually associated with these loans, and providing victims with assistance in keeping their homes. (passed both houses — awaiting the Governor’s signature)

Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Exemption Program
Chapter 202 of the Laws of 2002 (A. 2741, Englebright) would grant local governments the option to increase the maximum income eligibility limit for a 50 percent senior citizen real property tax exemption from $20,500 to $21,500.

State Match of Alzheimer’s Disease Tax Check-Off
Chapter 359 of the Laws of 2002 (A.9659, Schimminger) would require the State to annually match the funding generated by the State income tax check-off for the Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Fund.


Assemblyman Englebright (Chair of the Committee on the Aging) and Assemblyman Luster (Chair of the Committee on Mental Health) with an adult home advocate at the Assembly’s joint hearing on Adult Homes in New York City on June 6th.

Chapter 121 of the laws of 2002 (A.10017/Englebright)
extends the program which authorizes the provision of services to non-residents of adult homes, residences for adults and enriched housing programs from July 1, 2002 to July 1, 2005. The program is part of the State’s continuing plan to make a wide variety of support services available to assist family caregivers in keeping their relatives in the community. The two most significant non-resident services available are adult day care and temporary residential placement (respite).

Chapter 332 of the Laws of 2002 (A.10018, Englebright)
would extend the Intergenerational Day Care Community Grants Program until December 31, 2004. The Legislature directed the State Office for the Aging (SOFA) to develop at least three pilot projects combining senior citizen centers or residential health care facilities with child day care centers. These projects demonstrated the cost-effectiveness and Social benefit of intergenerational day care centers.

Green Thumb
Chapter 237 of the Laws of 2002 (A.11150, Rules/ Luster) would increase the income eligibility limits for seniors to be employed by the Green Thumb Environmental Beautification Program. This program provides older workers with the opportunity to enhance the environment of our state.

Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program (SCRIE)
A.11606-ARules (Lopez) would permit SCRIE recipients to apply for a redetermination of the amount of their SCRIE benefit, due to a 20 percent or greater reduction in their household income, at any time. Currently, a SCRIE recipient is allowed to apply for a redetermination of the amount of their SCRIE benefit upon renewal of their SCRIE benefit or one year after the issuance of the renewal of their SCRIE benefit. The NYC Department for the Aging receives approximately 2000 redetermination applications per year. (passed both houses — awaiting the Governor’s signature)

NYS Seal
2002-03 Budget Highlights

Social Model Adult Day Care Program
These programs improve the quality of life for the elderly and provide respite for family caregivers. The Legislature restored $946,276 in proposed cuts for this program.

Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP)
EISEP program provides non-medical care for the elderly in their homes. The Legislature added $250,000 to expand services and restored $278,000 — two-thirds of the loss resulting from decreased allocations due to changes in the senior population measured by the Census.

Community Services for the Elderly Program (CSE)
Services funded through this program include: homemaking, housekeeping, chore services, home health services, adult day care, transportation, shopping assistance, and counseling services. The Legislature restored $202,215—two-thirds of the loss resulting from decreased allocations due to changes in the senior population measured by the Census.

Respite Care Program for the Elderly
Respite services are crucial for caregivers providing full-time care to dependent family members. The Legislature restored $462,000 in proposed cuts for respite services.

Congregate Services Initiative (CSI)
CSI provides funding for senior centers and clubs to promote the health of the elderly. The Legislature added $300,000 for this program.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP)
Through this program, volunteers are trained to advocate for approximately 150,000 residents living in nursing homes and adult care facilities. The Legislature added $58,365 for this program.

Adult Care Facility Quality Incentive Payment Program (QUIP)
QUIP program was enacted to grant operators of adult homes incentive payments to improve the quality of care in their facilities. The Legislature added $4,000,000 to the 2002-03 state budget for this program.

Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Centers (ADACs)
The Legislature added $54,000 for this program to fund the nine ADACs operating across the State.

Alzheimer’s Community Assistance Program (AlzCAP)
The Legislature fought successfully to include $51,000 in funding for this program.

Recruitment and Retention of Health Care Workers
This health care package enacted in January provides $1.8 billion (including federal, state, and local shares) in new funding over the next three years to recruit and retain health care workers in hospitals, nursing homes, free-standing clinics and personal care agencies. Because Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA) workers, Long Term Home Health Care (LTHHC) workers, hospice workers and private duty nurses were left out of the bill, the Legislature added $3,277,000 for the recruitment and retention of these health care workers.

6 Percent Tax Assessment on Nursing Homes
The Assembly successfuly fought to exclude Medicare revenues from the 6 percent gross receipts assessment on nursing homes established under the health care package.

Senior advocates from across New York State convened in Albany to share their ideas, concerns and questions with Assemblyman Englebright during the Aging Committee Advisory Council meeting on March 7th.

For Additional Information, contact...

Assemblymember Steve Englebright
Chair, Committee on the Aging

Room 824 LOB
Albany, New York 12248

149 Main Street
East Setauket, New York 11733