Golisano Institute Faculty Applaud Legislation Expanding Disability Health Care Resources

January 4, 2022

In late December, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of laws to improve access to care for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. In collaboration with the New York State Association of Behavior Analysis (NYSABA), St. John Fisher College and its Office of Sponsored Programs and Government Affairs and the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing served as advocates for one piece of groundbreaking legislation to expand the scope of practice of Licensed Behavior Analysts.

The new measure will provide resources for individuals with developmental disabilities by expanding the role of behavior analysts, supporting early intervention education, and providing data on autism in New York state.

"There are more than a quarter-million individuals living with developmental disabilities in New York state, and this legislation will greatly increase the quality and span of health care services available to them. The Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing supports this legislation as part of our commitment to growing a robust network of health professionals to care for this underserved population. I am proud of our legislators and the governor for making this transformational change," said Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, executive director of the Golisano Institute.

According to Cooney Miner, behavior analysts are an important part of a health care team, working with nurses, doctors, caregivers, and patients to address mental, physical, and behavioral issues. She explained that for years, behavior analysts in New York state, unlike those in other parts of the country, have been limited to serving individuals diagnosed with autism. She said this new legislation allows them to provide services to patients with other diagnosed conditions.

"As professionals, it has been challenging and at times heartbreaking to limit our care to patients within a single diagnosis,” said Dr. Deborah A. Napolitano, the former legislative committee chair of NYSABA, and an associate professor at Daemen College who serves as a consultant to the Golisano Institute at Fisher. “Behavior analysts play a critical role in assisting patients with many disabilities, including but not limited to Traumatic Brain Injury, Alzheimer's, ADHD, and Down Syndrome, to live healthy and full lives. NYSABA applauds this much needed update allowing behavior analysts to provide essential care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New York state."