Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sinergia Jumps into Action After Hurricane Sandy

The recent tumultuous arrival of Superstorm Sandy did more than just cause destruction and disruption to the lives of thousands of people throughout the Tri-State area. The storm also provided Sinergia with an opportunity to witness the depth of commitment that our staff possesses. While the Residential administrative team, Deputy Executive Director Michael Mitchell, Director of Residential Services Rebecca Maitin, Lead Residential Manager Rolando Aquino, Residential Manager Johanna Echeverria and On-Site Manager David Bryant kept the lines of communication open and reviewed the situation almost on an hour by hour basis with the Executive Director, the true “Everyday Heroes” were the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and their team leaders, who rose to the occasion and took on extended shifts and responsibilities without hesitation. Many of these folks worked round the clock to ensure the safety and well-being of the people with disabilities that we serve in the residential department.

The DSPs came to work on the Saturday and Sunday before Sandy struck knowing full well that it might be nearly impossible to get home that night or the next day with the impending shutdown of all New York City mass transit services. These DSPs, some of whom live in Queens and Brooklyn, left their homes not knowing when they might be able to return or what they would be returning to. Despite that gnawing concern, they also understood that the fragile population that we serve needed their help. Upon arriving at their assignments, these staff members realized they were in for the long haul. We are proud to say that they all performed magnificently under such very difficult circumstances and they did not allow Sandy to stand in the way of delivering quality services. Sinergia would like to recognize and thank the following staff members for their courageous and selfless commitment to the people that we serve:
            On site Residential Manager David Bryant
            Team Leader Argenis P
            Team Leader Ralph Espinal
            Team Leader Gwen Baez
            Team Leader Dawn Dixon
            Team Leader Mellissa Baez
            Direct Support Professionals:
            Paul Mandeg                                  
            Korey St Hill
            Lovelie Pierre
            Delouris Snell
            Iluminada Hilario
           Fabienne Perides
           Marilyn Quinones
           Vanessa Green
           Barbara Johnson
           Frank Curbelo

We also want to express our gratitude to those DSPs who left their homes and found what could only be described as “imaginative” ways to get their sites and relieve their colleagues who had been on call in some cases for 36 hours.
A very similar sense of commitment could be seen at the Sinergia main office on Lexington Avenue in the days following Sandy’s arrival. While many not-for-profits and other businesses throughout the City of New York remained closed for the entire week following the storm, many of the Sinergia staff who work in the main office found a way to get in and we were open for business on the Wednesday following the storm.  Some drove, some car-pooled, some paid for cabs, some even walked blocks upon blocks, but they got in, and by noon on Wednesday the office was humming with activity.

The service interruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy were a great source of anxiety for many of the people with disabilities that we serve. However, many of these folks discovered that when they called our main office or stopped by, the MSCs, Case Managers, Coordinators, Fiscal and Administrative staff  were here and able to assist them with their issues. Likewise, the adults who attend the Day Habilitation program at the main office also arrived to find that many of their staff had found ways to get in from Brooklyn, Queens and other parts of the storm ravaged city.

We also need to recognize our housekeeping and maintenance staff who managed to find a way through the flooded streets and blocked avenues to come in and support the work being done at the main office, in the Day Habilitation program, the Residential program and on the administrative level.  Sinergia is very proud of the efforts of its entire staff and wants to be sure that they and their commitment to the people we serve is appreciated and recognized.                                                                           (Photo)

Monday, November 5, 2012

New York’s Autism Insurance Reform Law is Now in Effect

It’s time to celebrate!  It’s the month of November and New York’s autism insurance reform law is now in effect. 

What does this mean for you and your child suspected of having autism spectrum disorder?  It means that from November 1, 2012 forward, as state-regulated insurance plans file to renew, they will be required to cover the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder.

It is important to note that this law was enacted last year and required regulations to be promulgated regarding those who provide behavioral health treatment, including applied behavioral analysis. These regulations were to be implemented by the insurance superintendent in consultation with the commissioners of health and education.

Emergency regulations were released so that the law could go into effect November 1 as intended. These emergency regulations will then be followed by a notice of proposed rulemaking, providing everyone an opportunity to comment once the rule is published in the State Register.

In the meantime, if you need information about the law, please visit Autism Speak’s website  where you will find a one-page summary as well as a link to the actual language of the new law. They will post a link to the emergency regulations once they are available online. We will also keep you posted of any new developments.


¡Es tiempo de celebrar! Es el mes de noviembre y la ley que reforma los seguros que cubren el autismo en el estado de Nueva York ya está en vigor.

¿Qué significa esto para usted si sospecha que su niño puede estar diagnosticado con el trastorno del espectro autista? Quiere decir que a partir del 1 de noviembre de 2012 en adelante, los planes de seguro regulados por el estado que desean renovar estarán obligados a cubrir la detección, el diagnóstico y el tratamiento de los trastornos del espectro autista.

Es importante señalar que esta ley fue promulgada el año pasado y requiere que los reglamentos necesarios sean promulgados en relación con aquellos que proveen tratamiento de salud mental, incluyendo el análisis aplicado del comportamiento. Estas normas se aplicaran por el superintendente de seguros, en consulta con los comisionados de la salud y la educación.

Reglamentos de emergencia fueron puestos en libertad para que la ley pueda entrar en vigor el 1 de noviembre como estaba previsto. Estas normas de emergencia serán seguidas por un aviso de reglamentación propuesta, ofreciendo a todos la oportunidad de comentar una vez que la norma se publica en el Registro del Estado.

Mientras tanto, si usted necesita más información acerca de la ley, por favor visite la página web de Autism Speaks donde encontrará un resumen de una página, así como un enlace con el texto real de la nueva ley. Ellos van a publicar un enlace a las normas de emergencia una vez que están disponibles en línea; también les mantendremos informados de cualquier novedad.