Entries by Christopher Engelhardt, Communications Specialist

Resources for People with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Pandemic  

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge across New York State, people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are being encouraged to keep themselves healthy and protected through preparation and by making use of available resources. To date, there are nearly 60,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus—or COVID 19—in New York State, with more than 33,000 […]

Home Care Workers, Personal Aides Allowed To Work Amid Pandemic

In an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order mandating that workers remain at home, excluding essential workers. Under the order, home care workers and personal aides are essential workers and are permitted to continue providing support for people with disabilities and chronic health […]

ICS Members Testify At Medicaid Redesign Team Forum

A number of community members expressed anger and concern over proposed state Medicaid cuts at a recent New York State Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) II Public Comment Forum. Many believe the cuts will severely affect services and reduce their independence. Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo instituted a 1 percent cut to Medicaid providers statewide. […]

Independence Radio: Depression and Disability

On this episode of Independence Radio, host Stephanie Wallace discusses how depression can affect people with disabilities, and how a person’s behavioral health can affect their physical health. Click here to listen and subscribe! Stephanie’s guest, Rosemary Salopek, is a former director of behavioral health at Independence Care System (ICS) and a healthcare services professional […]

The Able Age Adjustment Act Would Help People With Disabilities Save

In 2014, people with disabilities celebrated passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, legislation that ensures people with disabilities can save funds to support their overall health, independence and quality of life, without losing any state or federal benefits. While the ABLE Act was a great step forward, the measure hasn’t gone […]

ICS Helps Member Reach Employment and Housing Goals

Two Independence Care System (ICS) staff were recently praised by an ICS member who, despite facing a variety of challenges, was able to secure employment and address housing problems with their support. ICS member Lisa Rivera, a wheelchair user who joined ICS’ Independent Living Program last year, decided she wanted a job. The program pairs […]

Independence Radio: How To Talk With Your Doctor

On the latest episode of Independence Radio, host Stephanie Wallace talks about the significance of effectively communicating and building relationships with our doctors. Click here to listen and subscribe! Stephanie’s guest, Dr. Kwame Kitson, is a former medical director at Independence Care System (ICS) who has specialized in family medicine for more than 20 years. […]

Securing An Apartment For An ICS Member

Independence Care System (ICS) Community Health Worker Tirso Velez recently assisted an ICS member with securing an apartment, navigating the challenging process of finding affordable housing and making it possible for her to live comfortably and independently in her community. ICS member Germania Decena—who experiences memory problems due to her physical disability—was searching for a […]

Independence Radio: Sex and Dating With a Disability

To start the New Year right, Independence Radio host Stephanie Wallace talks about the too- often-taboo topics of sex and dating for people with disabilities. Click here to listen and subscribe! Guests Dr. Mitch Tepper, Ph.D and Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, Ph.D, are both wheelchair users and professional experts in the field of sexuality for people […]

CDPAANYS Hosts New York #SaveCDPA Listening Tour

In an effort to engage consumers, personal care assistants and stakeholders about the threats to Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA), representatives from the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State ( CDPAANYS ) are traveling statewide on a #SaveCDPA Listening Tour. The goal is to discuss recent policy changes, hear from the public, […]

ICS Member’s Lawsuit Increases Accessibility

Independence Care System (ICS) and Civics League for Disability Rights (CLDR) member Julia Yepez recently filed a lawsuit against a Brooklyn-based hospital for architectural disability discrimination. Julia’s lawsuit claimed that the hospital ignored explicit legal requirements to make its facility accessible for people with disabilities, in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities […]

Sharifa Abu-Hamda: An Advocate For People With Disabilities

As people with disabilities continue to face a number of obstacles, including cuts in funding for crucial services, New York State’s Global Cap on Medicaid spending, and threats to the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), the Civics League for Disability Rights (CLDR)—led by President Sharifa Abu-Hamda—has remained steadfast in advocating for quality of life […]

ICS’ Harry Bonsu Receives Top Award From SUNY New Paltz

Independence Care System (ICS) Senior Vice President of Administration and Member Services Harry Bonsu recently received the prestigious Heritage Award from SUNY New Paltz in recognition of his philanthropy and service at the college. Harry—who was joined by family and friends—was honored at his alma mater on October 19. SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian […]

Women With Disabilities Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In what made for an engaging and educational day, women with physical disabilities attended Independence Care System’s (ICS) annual Women’s Health Event, a celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month that featured activities and resources to support women’s health and wellness. Since its inception in 2007, the event—held in partnership with Susan G. Komen Greater NYC—has […]

Victory! Court Rules CDPAP Cuts Unconstitutional

In a significant victory for New Yorkers with disabilities, Albany County Supreme Court Justice Christina Ryba declared that the recent budget cuts made by the New York State Department of Health to the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) were unconstitutional. CDPAP—a Medicaid-funded program—allows people with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities to hire, train and […]

Preserving an ICS Member’s Job and Independence

Independence Care System (ICS) Transitions Of Care Director Stephanie Reynolds, pictured above, and Disability Program Director Elaine Castelluccio recently secured a medically-necessary device for an ICS member, making it possible for her to return home to live independently and keep her job. ICS member Scheria Keith needed a specialized, standing transfer device installed in her […]

Rachael Stacom Honored by National MS Society

Independence Care System’s (ICS) Senior Vice President of Clinical Programs and Population Health Rachael Stacom was recently recognized as a Hope Honoree by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at the organization’s Dinner of Champions. Rachael—who was joined by ICS colleagues, friends and family—was honored at the event at the Grand Hyatt NYC in Manhattan on […]

ICS Members Testify At Implicit Bias Hearing

Independence Care System (ICS) members and staff recently testified at a New York City Council oversight hearing, calling on lawmakers to amend a resolution urging the State to require medical schools to train students about implicit bias in health care. Members said that they want the resolution, which addresses bias against people based on their […]

30 Minutes on Disability-Competent Care

In what made for an informative and insightful event, Independence Care System’s (ICS) Senior Vice President of Clinical Programs and Population Health Rachael Stacom and Disability Program Director Elaine Castelluccio offered a live webinar on the significance of disability-competent care and care coordination. The session was hosted by Resources for Integrated Care (RIC)—which partners with […]

ICS Members Protest Budget Cuts to Consumer Directed Care

As pedestrians paced down the sidewalk passed New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Third Avenue in Manhattan, the day—August 29—seemed like any other. The sunny summer day was marked by a cloudless sky, employees with coffee or cell phone in hand racing to their destinations, and tourists excitedly absorbed by the city’s skyscrapers […]

Finally! NY to Get Accessible Street Corners

In what many New Yorkers consider to be a landmark victory, the United Spinal Association and Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) received U.S. District Court approval to move forward with their settlement agreement with the City of New York to significantly improve sidewalk accessibility for wheelchair users and members of the […]

Bronx MS Center Recognized for Top Tier Care

“We’re able to provide comprehensive care and change health outcomes for people with disabilities,” said Independence Care System (ICS) Senior Vice President of Clinical Programs and Population Health Rachael Stacom. She was talking about the collaborative partnership among ICS, BronxCare Health System, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and MS Hope for a Cure in support of […]