Paulin Sponsors Legislation to Ensure Early Intervention Service for Young Children

PaulinPressConferencePaulin at Press Conference to announce the Passage of the LegislationThough New York State mandates that early intervention services are available for children under the age of three with delays or disabilities, many have not been able to access these services. Why? Because when an Early Intervention provider renders services, they must bill the insurance company first. In recent years, private insurers have only paid approximately $12 million out of $80 million in EarIy Intervention claims, rejecting approximately 85% of claims.

Though these unpaid claims are ultimately paid by New York State and local counties which split the cost, the process is cumbersome and the delay in receiving payment has caused many providers to close their doors.

Now, new legislation sponsored by Assemblymember Amy Paulin and Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick and passed by the NYS Legislature will ensure that commercial health insurers contribute their fair share to the Early Intervention program. It increases funding for Early Intervention services and streamlines the reimbursement process to providers. The bill will save counties around the state $28 million while creating a reliable fund for early intervention service providers, funded by the health insurance industry.

Commenting on the passage of the legislation, Paulin said, “This legislation is a massive step forward in reforming and strengthening the state’s Early Intervention program so that more children can get the help they need, when they need it. It will ensure that commercial health insurers contribute their fair share to the Early Intervention program, will assure good stewardship of state and local tax dollars and, most importantly, will allow Early Intervention providers to focus on the critical services they provide to children and families.”

“Early Intervention fundamentally changes the trajectory of a child’s life for the better,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “Thanks to Assemblywoman Paulin and Senator Reichlin-Melnick’s leadership, this law would provide additional funding for these life-changing services. When we know a program works, it should be a no-brainer to increase its capacity – our children’s lives are too important.”

Those who work in the field praised the passage of the bill and urged the Governor to sign it into law.

"Westchester Children's Association applauds State Assemblymember Amy Paulin and State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick for successfully passing critical Early Intervention legislation (A5339/S5560A) and urge Governor Cuomo to promptly sign it into law,” said Josh Prywes, Program and Policy Manager, Westchester Children's Association. “As a proud member of the Kids Can’t Wait Leaders Council, a coalition dedicated to strengthening availability and access to Early Intervention services, WCA knows this bill will build crucial statewide capacity for young children with developmental and special needs. It provides a vital and viable mechanism to prevent delays in Early Intervention services, which is especially important to our County, which ranked number 56 out of counties in the timely delivery of Early Intervention services across New York State in 2018. We know that, when enacted, this legislation will jump start wellness for young children, reduce long-term developmental challenges and statewide costs, and center children and their families on a path for success."

“Covered lives is a practical approach to ensure that Early Intervention agencies and their therapists continue to focus on therapeutic services and that Insurance Companies are held accountable to pay their fair share of the costs of these services. Covered lives will save the State and Counties millions of dollars by no longer subsidizing the commercial insurance industry for denied services. For these reasons, I am delighted to join the bill’s sponsors urging Governor Cuomo to sign into law, covered lives when it reaches his desk,” said John Calderon, President, Theracare of New York.

Assemblymember Amy Paulin, a Scarsdale resident, has long been an advocate for families and children, and this legislation is another in a long line of bills she has passed to improve constituents’ lives.