People with developmental disabilities must enroll in CCO to keep services

Robert Flood pictured with his mother Karen Kimmel. They will have to enroll in Prime Care in order to guarantee access to the same programs he now attends at CDS Monarch.

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Five days a week, Robert Flood takes the bus to a day program at CDS Monarch on Linden Avenue.

Part of his routine there includes helping with recycling and delivering Meals On Wheels via a car to others in the same program.

"It makes him very comfortable because he knows that he'll have the same day and nothing is going to change," said Karen Kimmel, Robert's mother. "Any time anything changes - even a slight variation - he gets very upset."

Yet change is coming for thousands of people with developmental disabilities in New York State.

Agencies such as CDS Monarch will no longer have Medicaid coordinators on staff. Instead, the coordinators at CDS Monarch who help facilitate a life plan of the program Robert needs will be employed by a central organization called Prime Care.

Prime Care is one of the several Care Coordination Organizations (CCO) in which people with disabilities must enroll. Fourteen agencies from the Rochester and Finger Lakes area are impacted by the change. Each one will need to designate a CCO, which includes organizations such as Prime Care or Person Centered Services.

"It's actually going to be better and more comprehensive care," said Tracy Boff, Executive Director of Prime Care Coordination.

For example, Robert also sees doctors - including a cardiologist and orthopedic specialist. Under Prime Care, the same person will help to coordinate health care along with other services. "If anything, there are going to be more services added if they need it and want it rather than taking away services," said Boff.

Enrolling in Prime Care is optional; yet it's the only way for families and individuals to be guaranteed the services they have now.

"I just haven't learned enough about it to make me feel comfortable and to know that his needs are going to be taken care of," said Kimmel.

More information about the program can be found here.

Providers are working to get the word out to thousands of individuals and families before the July 1st deadline.

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