For People with Disabilities: We Understand
Adults with physical disabilities are welcome here. That’s a pretty simple concept. But we knew, when we adopted that as our motto in 2009, that for people with disabilities, finding such a place in the NYC health care system that said that—and meant it—was nearly impossible.
With disability rights leaders like Marilyn Saviola and Anna Fay on our staff, Independence Care System became and remains the premier provider of long-term care services for people with disabilities in New York City. Our nationally recognized Disability Care Coordination Model has many distinguishing characteristics:
- Care coordination is at the heart of our model, based on the belief that people with disabilities are the experts on their own bodies and needs and must be welcomed as active participants in their own care.
- More than half of our members use a wheelchair, scooter or other mobility device, which we know is crucial to their welfare. In response, we created a community-based wheelchair purchase, maintenance and repair program, unmatched in New York City.
- We recognized that some of our members were ready and willing to select, hire, train and supervise their own personal care assistants. So ICS became the first Medicaid managed long-term care agency in NYC to partner with Concepts of Independence and offer our members the option of participating in the Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program. For ten years, we were the only agency offering this option as well as agency-provided home care.
- We know that preventing a wound can be the difference between a full life and a life full of discomfort. In response, ICS created a Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Early Intervention Program staffed by wound care specialists—a program that has significantly reduced the number of our members who develop wounds.
- While other agencies were refusing to enroll members who needed 12-24 hours of personal care, ICS put up no such barrier. Today, more than 20% of our members need this level of care, illustrating ICS’s commitment to keeping the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the US Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, to prevent the institutionalization of people who can live safely in the community.
- When we saw that many of our members had spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis, we created enhanced care management services for both. This led the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to designate ICS as one of three “Centers of Excellence in Long-Term Care” for people with MS.
- Many women with physical disabilities face health care barriers, so with funding from the NYC Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, ICS launched a breast cancer screening project for women with physical disabilities. Expansion is underway to other areas of women’s health.
- From the start, we saw that adults with physical disabilities had few options for socializing. So we introduced a wide range of social programs to help our members get out and build a community of friends and resources. On any given day, in the offices of ICS, you will find members sharing a skill, a meal and a laugh. Check out upcoming events and programs, and come on down for a visit!