2012-08-17 / Top Stories

Cuomo Proposes Changing Adult Homes

By Howard Schwach

If Governor Andrew Cuomo has his way, many of the adult homes that dot the Rockaway peninsula would be forced to lower the number of its residents with “serious psychiatric disabilities” to 25 percent of its population.

In addition, hospitals with psychiatric units, such as St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Rockaway, would no longer be able to discharge patients to “transitional adult homes” such as the ones in Rockaway unless that home’s population of residents with serious psychiatric disabilities was under the 25 percent mandate.

A local resident intricately involved with the adult home industry in Rockaway, but who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, told The Wave that the new rules would mean a massive change for a number of Rockaway facilities because “75 to 80 percent of those in Rockaway homes fall into the category of “severely impaired.”

The new rules define a “transitional adult home” as one with more than 80 beds in which 25 percent of the residents have a psychiatric disability.”

There are 12 adult homes in Rockaway that fit that description, sources say.

Those homes were part of a lawsuit brought in 2008 by an advocacy group that argued “warehousing” the mentally ill in large adult homes violated their rights under the Constitution.

Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis agreed and ordered that residents of those 12 homes be moved into “assisted living” apartments and homes within the community.

Garaufis’ decision was overturned by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, however,

Under the governor’s plan, those homes now out of compliance with the plan will have to submit a compliance plan as to how it will “best prepare adult home residents with psychiatric disabilities to prepare to leave the homes and to be transitioned to an array of supported housing, supported single-room occupancy units, community residences, senior housing and enriched housing units.”

Those homes that fail to do so, the plan says, will have a compliance plan imposed on them by the state’s Department of Health.

“What the governor is doing is honoring

Garaufis’ ruling even though it was overturned by the Second Circuit,” the source said. “It will move into the community people who are not ready to live independently or to care for themselves.”

Mental Health advocates, however, said in a prepared statement, “These actions represent a major commitment to advancing the rights, choices and hopes of potentially thousands of adult home residents with psychiatric disabilities from across the state – not just in New York City – to live a full life in the community.”

The adult homes on the Rockaway peninsula that could be impacted by the new state regulations are the Belle Harbor Manor, New Gloria’s Manor Home for Adults, New Haven Manor, Park Inn Home for Adults, Rockaway Manor Home for Adults, Surfside Home for Adults, Central Assisted Living, LLC, Long Island Hebrew Living Center, Seaview Manor and Wavecrest Home for Adults

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