Month: April 2016

Statewide Survey: Community Engagement in DSRIP

Medicaid Matters New York (MMNY), the statewide coalition that advocates on the interests of Medicaid beneficiaries, is conducting a survey to assess the degree to which CBOs are engaged in DSRIP. A link to the survey can be found here, along with more background information about DSRIP.  More information about DSRIP is available here, and you can find out which DSRIP entity is active in your region using this map.

Community-based entities of any type, in any part of New York State, are encouraged to complete the survey. The survey results will be used to help MMNY assess what the needs are around the state for advancing community interests in local DSRIP regions. It will also allow MMNY to conduct state level advocacy to ensure that the DSRIP process engages CBOs in ways that recognize their strengths and address barriers to their participation.

DSRIP is a new health care payment and delivery system being implemented by New York State, which will impact how the State’s over six million Medicaid beneficiaries access health care services and how they experience care. All New Yorkers deserve access to high-quality care and the chance to experience good outcomes, including Medicaid beneficiaries. These significant changes, however, may disengage Medicaid beneficiaries from care if community-based organizations (CBOs) are not included in a meaningful way. Safety net providers and CBOs are rooted in low-income, underserved communities and have a trusted history of service to Medicaid beneficiaries.

Results of this survey will be shared only in the aggregate; individual responses to this survey will not be shared.

#1 Health Risk for Children: Poverty

1 in 5 children in the U.S are living in poverty.   The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released recommendations urging doctors to ask at all well-child visits whether families are able to make ends meet.  Poverty has been found to impact children’s health and development significantly, and pediatricians have a unique role in identifying poverty related stress.

An individual’s health is linked largely not only to the clinical care they receive from their physician, but to where they live, work and play.  To whether or not they have stable housing or if there is enough food to eat.  The AAP is hoping that a single question “Do you have difficulty making ends meet at the end of the month?” will help identify families in need so they can get access to available services in their communities.

HWCLI recognizes that physicians often times do not have the staff or resources to work with patients once they have identified poverty as an issue, which is why Community Based Organizations have and important role to play when it comes to addressing the social determinants of health.  HWCLI and our partners will soon be piloting projects throughout Long Island to help support pediatricians with the infrastructure needed to integrate screening for food insecurity and poverty into their practice.   These projects will create a link between the patient, their doctor, and community services available to help address their needs and ultimately improve health outcomes.

You can read the full report from AAP on poverty and child health HERE

HEAP Cooling Assistance Component Opens May 2

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) Cooling Assistance Component (CAC) will open on May 2, 2016. The HEAP CAC program provides for the purchase and installation of air conditioners and fans. The HEAP CAC is available for HEAP eligible households with at least one individual with a documented medical condition that is exacerbated by extreme heat. The program is open until August 31, 2016 or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. Any household that received a HEAP benefit of at least $21 during the current program year or currently receives Temporary Assistance can fill out the Cooling Application and submit it to their local department of social services. Households that have not received HEAP and are not currently receiving Temporary Assistance must complete both the HEAP application and the Cooling Application. Applications for the Cooling Assistance Component cannot be submitted online through My Benefits.

HWCLI is hiring! Communications and Advocacy Specialist

The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island is hiring!


Job Title: Communications and Advocacy Specialist

To view this job description as a PDF, please click here.

Please submit resumes to Elena Dundon:


Job Description:

  • Work with the HWCLI team to develop and implement a comprehensive communications strategy, including both long term and rapid response projects to advance the goals of the organization.
  • Work with the team on concepts and ideas for communication pieces.
  • Draft advocacy and educational communications to be sent to members on policy related issues
  • Assist in preparing media materials, including press releases, media advisories, talking points, etc., and manage and track the flow of news about the organization in the media;
  • Coordinate webpage maintenance-ensure that new and consistent information (article links, blog, and events) is posted regularly.
  • Manage HWCLI’s social media platforms, including but not limited to mass emails, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Monitor the growth of HWCLI’s communications based on website traffic, e-newsletter readership, Twitter engagement, etc., and use data to recommend improvements to communication strategies.
  • Research, prepare and write presentations and/or speeches geared  to different audiences in an effort to solicit support for HWCLI’s agenda and/or provide information about HWCLI
  • Review and edit communications submitted for organizational issues
  • Manage HWCLI’s Google AdWords campaign.
  • Effectively present information in one-on-one and small group situations to members, partners, staff members of elected officials, and other staff of the organization.
  • Participate in external policy and advocacy relevant teleconferences, webinars and meetings on behalf of the organization


Supervisory Responsibilities:

This position has no supervisory responsibilities


 Qualifications, Required Skills and Experience

A Bachelor’s Degree required, preferred in communications or political science. Two to four years minimum experience in non-profit communications, development and/or social equity advocacy.  Minimum two to four years of professional experience in non-profit communications, development and/or advocacy.  Must have a valid driver’s license.

VITA preparers have a higher accuracy for EITC claims

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to consider Chairman Orrin Hatch’s bill to combat identity theft and tax refund fraud.  The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities suggests that it should take this opportunity to restore a provision in a previous version of the bill that required paid tax return preparers to meet a basic standard of competence.

IRS research finds that about 400,000 preparers who prepare more than 13 million earned income tax credit (EITC) claims each year never have to pass any test to certify that they know the tax rules or to take any training on changes in tax rules.  U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro recently told the committee:  “IRS found that paid preparers filed about 68 percent of the EITC returns in a year or two-year period of time and about 48 to 53 percent over claimed the tax credit.”   Recommendations were made several years ago to allow the IRS to regulate paid tax preparers, but those regulations were overturned by the court.  Dodaro reiterated the Government Accountability Office’s long-standing position that paid tax return preparers should meet a basic standard of competence.

IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and Tax Counseling for the Elderly do have to demonstrate competence and have much higher accuracy rates for EITC claims.   The lack of oversight of unenrolled preparers, those who are neither attorneys, certified public accountants, nor enrolled agents, highlights the importance of VITA programs and the assistance they offer low-income families.

Proposed Bill Would Limit Schools Eligible for Community Eligibility

A new report from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examines a discussion draft of a child nutrition reauthorization bill that would limit the number of schools able to participate in Community Eligibility. If this proposed bill from the House Education and Workforce Committee becomes a law, 7,022 schools now using community eligibility would have to return to the paper application process and monitoring eligibility in the lunch line everyday.

The Community Eligibility Provision is a provision of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 that allows schools or school districts with high poverty rates to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. Under federal law, certain students are automatically enrolled in free meals without having to complete an application because of their participation in programs like SNAP or TANF, as well as students who are homeless, migrant or in foster care. These automatically enrolled students are known as “identified students” for the purpose of community eligibility. To qualify for community eligibility, a school, group of schools or district must have an identified student percentage (ISP) of more than 40%. The reimbursement rate for meals served in school is also affected by the ISP. A school’s ISP is multiplied by 1.6 to estimate the number of students that would be eligible for free or reduced lunch if applications were collected. The resulting percentage is the percent of served meals that are reimbursed at the highest federal rate while the rest are reimbursed at the lowest federal rate. Any school/district with an ISP of 62.5% or higher would receive 100% of meals reimbursed at the highest rate, while schools with an ISP closer to 40% would be responsible for covering the cost of meals reimbursed at the lower rate.

This proposed bill would limit the schools or districts that were eligible to participate in Community Eligibility to those with ISPs over 60% instead of the current threshold of 40%. There are currently 7,022 schools that have adopted community eligibility with ISPs between 40 and 60 percent. More than one-third of the affected schools are located in just five states:  Kentucky, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. In addition, it is estimated that 11,647 schools with ISPs between 40 and 60 percent that have not yet adopted community eligibility would lose the option to do so.

Community Eligibility has been very popular in the first 2 years of nationwide availability largely because it allows schools to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students while reducing administrative costs and paperwork. Many studies have shown a link between food insecurity, overall health and academic performance. If passed, this bill would impose more administrative burdens on schools and prevent schools in some of the most high poverty areas from providing this valuable resource to their students.