An Optimistic View of the Future
Returning to Normalcy and Positive Change
Spring has come and summer is before us. We are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of warm days and the opportunity to move on from the past two years of a pandemic. COVID rates, while not absent, are trending lower and we are seeing fewer hospitalizations.
Many, if not most of us, have experienced COVID either personally or through a family member. Vaccinations, anti-viral treatments, booster shots, and weakening strains of the COVID virus have significantly diminished the terrible effects of this virus that we have experienced over the past two years.
We are seeing a return to normalcy and there seems to be a level of optimism to enjoy the human contact and activity that we missed for so long.
At LIFEPlan, we are actively seeking ways to help our members fully participate in their communities. Our Care Managers are reaching out to members to meet, revisit their Life Plans and ensure that people are receiving the support and services they need.
I personally know how COVID disrupted many people’s plans, services, and activities. My son Mark went from having a highly active life in the community including volunteerism, skill-building, social and recreational activities to a period of isolation. We have begun the process of updating his Life Plan, restarting prior activities, and seeking new opportunities.
With the right planning and hopefully with some of the recent actions taken by the State to improve the system-wide staffing crisis, we will resume the progress made with helping people lead active and inclusive lives.
I am encouraged by our new OPWDD (Office for People with Developmental Disabilities) Commissioner, Keri Neifeld. In her brief tenure, she has shown a sincere desire to connect, listen, and most importantly, to act quickly when the opportunity arises.
The 5.07 Plan, NYS’s comprehensive service plan to improve OPWDD programs and support, has been published for the first time in almost 10 years. This plan, provided in plain language here, is open to public review, comment, and discussion. I recommend anyone interested in sharing their comments to join the public forums scheduled for later this summer.
LIFEPlan continues to invest in the support that we provide for our members and their families. Like all employers, we have been impacted by the COVID staffing crisis which has impacted the continuity of services for some of our members. We have taken steps to improve retention and increased our recruitment and training.
We are heavily investing in specialized resources including clinical, self-direction, housing, employment, our 3000+ item database Community Resource Tool, and a new, search-enabled, informational Knowledge Center.
LIFEPlan is also proactively working with our disability services provider partners on program reopening and staffing issues that we face as a system.
We are approaching the 4th anniversary of the Care Coordination Organizations/Health Homes on July 1st. I am proud of the dedication our staff has shown to work together, to stay on course, to sharing experiences, and to continue growing as they serve all our individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
I am very appreciative of you as a member and as part of the LIFEPlan family.
Thank you for being on this journey with us at LIFEPlan. Please reach out if there is any way I can assist you and your loved one. Enjoy your summer.