Theodore Kastner, M.D., M.S.For more than a half century, the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) has provided family-centered, community-based, culturally competent, coordinated care to children and their families with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) including autism, cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders, cognitive and learning problems and behavioral problems. Using multidisciplinary teams to evaluate and treat the individual and support the family, we have become a model for programs throughout the region, state and nation. Our exemplary programs include evaluation and diagnostic services, dental care and habilitative services offered by physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. We are committed to creating the next generation of professionals caring for these individuals, training several hundred professionals from multiple disciplines each year. Finally, through our partnership with the Department of Neurosciences, we operate an extensive research program and support our NIH-funded Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC). With sensitivity and concern, we have been able to offer a commodity often in short supply in the lives of our patients and their families: hope for a brighter future.
Over the next few years the NYS Department of Health will be implementing the recommendations of the Medicaid Redesign Team. As a result we expect that more of our clients will be enrolled in Medicaid managed care and in long-term managed care. Many are concerned that this new direction may have a negative impact on persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. However, with these changes we see opportunities to improve the health outcomes of people with I/DD in the Bronx, to improve the experience of care for our customers, and to find cost-effective alternatives to segregated, institutional care. We recently implemented a single point of entry for individuals seeking services at CERC in order to reduce the time it takes for our customers to obtain services. In addition, we will be collaborating with the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Montefiore Medical Center, and with Medicaid HMOs to improve the health of our community. With OPWDD we recently launched a Medicaid Service Coordination program. With Montefiore Medical Center we will soon be providing primary care services to children and adults and coordinating care through the Adult Health Home program. We will also seek opportunities to improve access to services for children with I/DD who have severe, challenging behavior and those who are served in special education programs. We are rejuvenating our partnership with other members of the system of care including our sister UCEDDs in Rochester and Westchester, the Developmental Disabilities Planning Councils, and Disability Rights New York - the NYS Protection and Advocacy System and Client Assistance Program. We are strengthening the role of our Community Advisory Committee. Through this process we will maintain our commitment to our training and research mission.
This is an exciting time for CERC. We welcome your support and advice as to how we can align ourselves with the mandate of the Medicaid Redesign Team while at the same time continuing to be a champion for people with I/DD in our community. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly to share your thoughts.
Theodore Kastner, M.D., M.S.