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Monroe County, NY: Preschool SPED "services... chronically overburdened"; group rates now provided

June 14, 2019, Rochester (NY) City Newspaper: Confusion around special education programs continues https://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/rochester/confusion-around-special-education-programs-continues/Content?oid=10418604 Even as preschool special education providers began inking contracts with Monroe County this week, the county has continued to clarify what those contracts mean. …

These contracts, for the first time, included group rates, which the county said is an effort to increase capacity for services that are chronically overburdened. The group rates were set lower than individual rates, which county spokesperson Jesse Sleezer said is common across counties in New York, because they allow providers to earn reimbursements for multiple children per session. But a key hangup arose around the issue of what the county calls “groups of one,” which occur when a specialist determines that a child is best treated in a group setting, but there’s no group available…. Hurley said without raising rates across the board, including for group therapy providers, the county risks falling short of its obligation to get interventions to children who are entitled to them under state and federal law. “The reality is that, if the rates are not corrected, there are children who will wait – continue to wait – for the services that they really need,” Hurley said. “Their brains are developing, changes are taking place, and this is the opportunity we have to really help that child reach his or her full potential.”