ALBANY, N.Y. - A rally and press conference were held Wednesday at the Capitol by early intervention professionals who say the state needs to step up and provide the proper funding for the vital work they do.
Among those participating in the rally were physical and speech therapists like Bree Pisacane, an early intervention specialist who works with children with developmental delays.
Pisacane says without funding, children with special needs don't get the help they need. The children, as well as the families suffer.
"This is at crisis level. What we do in our work is catch and treat potential problems early. Problems that a child and their family doesn't have to carry with them for the rest of their life," she says. "Early intervention can provide that help. It's essential. These children are worth it. They need the state to take this seriously."
Much of early intervention treatment is paid by Medicaid,
the federal health care program for the poor. On April 1st, the state took over
responsibility from the counties for making the Medicaid payments.
Subsequently, many providers were not paid by the state for nearly four months, according to protestors.
On Tuesday, the Department of Health announced that the state would make safety net payments to providers.
They will receive 75 percent of the amount of their unpaid claims to insurers for the period April 1, 2013 through July 29, 2014. They will later receive the remainder of what they are owed.
The announcement came on the eve of Wednesday's rally.