Founder Rick Surpin Steps Down from Independence Care System Co-president Regina Martinez-Estela Takes Over

January 5, 2021

BROOKLYN – NY – After transitioning to the role of co-president last spring, Independence Care System (ICS) founder and former president Rick Surpin has now retired from the organization, as Co-president Regina Martinez-Estela ascends to the role of president. Mr. Surpin will remain on the ICS board and will serve the organization in an advisory role.

The founder of three affiliated non-profit organizations dedicated to transforming the quality of care provided to adults with physical disabilities and frail older adults, as well as the quality of direct-care workforce jobs, Mr. Surpin received the Business Enterprise Trust Award for Social Responsibility for “courage, integrity and social vision in business.” He was recognized as an “Outstanding Social Entrepreneur” by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and honored by the Medicare Rights Center for his visionary leadership in healthcare.

Ms. Martinez-Estela has held top leadership roles at ICS since 2002. She is an accomplished healthcare executive with more than 30 years of experience in disability-expert care and experience in the full range of healthcare operations, compliance, and program development. Before joining ICS she served as Director of Legislation for the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (now United Spinal Association), where she focused on policy initiatives to promote veterans’ health care, long-term care, Medicare, Medicaid, housing, and disability rights. Her expertise led to her appointment as a Commissioner of the New York City Human Rights Commission, where she continues to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ New Yorkers and others facing discrimination.

“There is no one who is better suited than Regina to lead ICS in its next stage of development,” Mr. Surpin said. “We have worked together almost from the beginning. We share many of the same values and commitment to helping members live healthy, independent, and socially connected lives to the fullest extent as possible. I know she will be very successful.”

Independence Care System was founded in 2000 to serve New Yorkers with disabilities including spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, cerebral palsy and other conditions that limit mobility and require a high level of disability expertise to help these individuals remain healthy and live independently, in the community.

Independence Care System (ICS) supports adults in New York City who live with a wide range of physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. The well-being of ICS members rests upon three pillars: mobility, health, and independence. We help our members get the services they need to live independently, in the community, rather than become confined to nursing homes or other institutions. In collaboration with our members, their families and caregivers, we advocate for the funding of essential services including homecare and personal care, wheelchairs, and other complex rehab equipment. We educate and create partnerships with healthcare providers to advance the availability of disability competent medical care. Educational and recreational offerings enrich our members’ lives and create a welcoming community for New Yorkers with disabilities and their allies. ICS mentors help members adjust to life with a disability and gain the skills to live full and vibrant lives that reflect their individual goals.

Contact: Regina Weiss