Press Contact

Jean Graham
SKIP of New York
601 W. 26th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10001
212.268.5999 ext. 208

Recent News

Check out the incredible story of Melissa Smith.

Recently paralyzed from the waist down and trapped in a five story walkup, Melissa’s sister was able to raise $400,000 to finance a new house for Melissa which will help her live independently. You can find the full story on the Huffington Post Impact Website.

News from Rochester

Our Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving was great. We delivered turkeys and all the trimmings to 15 of our families. And this year we had a generous donation of toys from the Ladies Auxiliary of The Knights of Columbus of Webster, New York so in addition to the food, we were able to give the kids of the families, toys as well.

Because no one is perfect? Get closer...

HCBS 1915 Waiver Fact Sheet Summary is Now Online.

Please check out this summary of the 1915 waiver provided by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Check out for more information.

Health & Safety Alert From OPWDD

The OPWDD Office of Facilities Management, Fire Safety and Emergency Services is sharing an important Product Recall on Dehumidifiers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

FDA MedWatch - Carefusion Avea Ventilator: Recall - Underreporting Of Tidal Volume If Used In Conjunction With Neonatal Hotwire Flow Sensor.

Ventilator Recall Alert from the FDA: The FDA MedWatch is sharing an important product recall on CareFusion Avea Ventilators. Please click “more” to read the full update

Electronic Benefit Transfer System Conversion

Philip Lawrence talks about the recent Board of Director's Retreat.

Interview with Peter Lydon.

Meet Bella Ruggiero, a young lady on our Waiting List.

Important! Medicaid Enrollment Now Required for all Doctors

October 4, 2012--As part of the new Affordable Care Act, the federal government is mandating that all Fee-for-Service doctors (i.e., not in Medicaid managed care) and other practitioners enroll in Medicaid in order to prescribe drugs, supplies and other services for patients who have Medicaid. These doctors must enroll even if they don’t ordinarily take care of Medicaid patients.

People First Waiver Update - 7 Things You Need to Know

July 31, 2012 -- Since we last reported to you about the People First Waiver, a lot more has happened but most of it has been behind the scenes.  In fact, you’d need to have been a very close fly on the wall to know what’s going on.  Here are the facts and what we’ve observed.

Feds Deny 1115 Waiver; Mandate Different Path

May 8, 2012--Update from SKIP Executive Director Margaret Mikol: While the course ahead for the aims of the 1115 Waiver remains cloaked in a bundle of uncertainty, recent news we’ve received points in a better direction than where we were headed before. Specifically, CMS (the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from whom OPWDD was seeking permission to proceed with the 1115 Waiver), did not give New York the go ahead for it. There will be no 1115 Waiver. However, OPWDD remains committed to what they are now exclusively calling the People First Waiver which still aims to convert the delivery of health care services for people with developmental disabilities to a managed care model over the coming years.

The 1115 Waiver: A Moving Target

March 23, 2012In our ongoing commitment to keeping the families and children we serve up to date on what’s happening with the 1115 Waiver, we are posting OPWDD answers to 1115 Waiver questions that were raised by agency directors and staff as part of a video conference on February 17th. We received them March 22.

1115 Waiver Update

March 6, 2012—The biggest news in 1115 Waiver development since the meeting at SKIP with OPWDD on January 18th has been a change in pace: The process has slowed considerably. Pilot projects have been pushed back from this spring to January 2013. Additionally, OPWDD has added a “one-year study phase.” Still, we must continue to keep your concerns in front of OPWDD as there are so many important decisions yet to be made. Here’s what’s happening now.

A Step Backwards: Disturbing Changes To The NY State Medicaid Waiver in the Works

This important article published December 26, 2011 by the Jewish Press speaks to the 1115 Waiver and its"fundamental and far-reaching changes" ...changes which will "have a profound effect on every individual in New York State who receives services under the current system for caring for individuals with developmental disabilities." For the full article, click here.


Families Pack the House for 1115 Waiver Meeting with OPWDD

January 23, 2011—The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Commissioner Courtney Burke and Deputy Commissioner Jim Moran met with nearly 250 SKIP consumers and parents/guardians of children with developmental disabilities on January 18th at SKIP's offices to answer their questions and discuss their concerns about the 1115 'People First' Waiver which looks to significantly shift the way they receive support and care through Medicaid.  It was a first step by SKIP and the families it serves to raise awareness among OPWDD policy makers of the extreme complexities and unintended consequences of some of the changes currently being considered.

OPWDD Agrees to Jan. 18th Meeting with SKIP Families

December 23, 2011—OPWDD has agreed to come to SKIP on Wednesday, January 18th for an evening session to discuss concerns and questions SKIP parents and consumers have about the OPWDD 1115 "People First" Waiver. OPWDD Commissioner Courtney Burke and OPWDD Deputy Commission Jim Moran will both attend. Click here for the full story and to find out what we need from you now. 

SKIP Submits RFI for 1115 Waiver

December 26, 2011--SKIP of New York has submitted its answers to the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in response to the OPWDD request for information re. the 1115 "People First" Waiver.  All stakeholders, including parents, are invited to fill out the RFI which you can get to by clicking here. The deadline for submissions has been extended to this Friday, December 30, 2011. To read SKIP's answers, click here.  

Our Children and the 1115 Waiver: Why We Are Concerned

November 16, 2011—As the State of New York seeks greater spending efficiencies, it is reshaping the way Medicaid-funded healthcare services are delivered. Specifically, through the 1115 Waiver, also known as the People First Waiver, New York is planning to move all consumers served through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), including children who are medically fragile as well as developmentally disabled, into a managed care model for the Medicaid healthcare services they receive. The current proposal includes moving Medicaid Service Coordination into the managed care benefit package.  Here’s why we are concerned….

Gov. Cuomo Takes Big Step to Support the Disabled

Nov. 9, 2011   In a strong show of support for the disabled populations of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law on November 1, 2011 that will require health insurance providers to offer coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. This sensitivity to the special needs of people with disabilities bodes well for the developmentally disabled citizens of the New York, particularly the medically fragile children within this population, as the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) continues its work to reshape how healthcare services are delivered to the developmentally disabled through the 1115 Waiver.


Notes From The Field From Jeremiah Webber, Assistant Manager

October 1, 2013 -- Things are going well here in Rochester. The air is getting crisper, as the Fall season approaches. I can’t speak for everyone, but I just love the Fall!! It is by far my favorite season. Kids are going back to school, and parents are enjoying a different change of pace. It’s the perfect time for apple picking, making crock pot dinners, pumpkin carving, going on hay rides and finding your way in and (hopefully) out of corn mazes. The leaves will be changing into so many beautiful colors, and the need to mow your lawn will soon be a thing of the past (but let’s not talk about the need to rake leaves or shovel snow just yet)!

Margaret recalls 26 years of the Turkey Trot

Margaret and her husband Yves were up at the crack of dawn the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to pick up 80 turkeys for SKIP’s 26th Annual Turkey Trot—our most successful to date.

Margaret recalls 26 years of the Turkey Trot - Video.

Margaret and her husband Yves were up at the crack of dawn the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to pick up 80 turkeys for SKIP’s 26th Annual Turkey Trot—our most successful to date.

2013 Turkey Trout - Buffalo

Buffalo was prepared for the second annual Turkey Trot with volunteers in such high numbers, we had to pick names from a hat!!!! We received some very generous donations from our office park neighbors and Dash’s Supermarket helped by providing the balance of the goods and packaging it all up for us!!!! Thanks to Tony P. and his wonderful crew. We were able to provide 16 families with a scrumptious dinner. Everyone was so very grateful. We can’t wait for next year!!!!

Notes from the field from Donna Andrzejewski, Regional Manager

October 1, 2013 -- October brings all of us joy that’s almost beyond description. The kids are settling in to their new schools or new grades. The first few days, well sometimes it can be weeks and hopefully not months, can be stressful as bus routes and pick up/ drop off times get ironed out. New teachers and staff get acclimated. Therapies hopefully start. All that fun stuff that we so love to talk to families about.

Diane Campione Salutes SKIP of New York

Diane Campione has been with the New York Public Library (NYPL) for nearly 26 years. She lives in Staten Island with her husband Keith and their son Christian Jeffrey who was diagnosed with autism in 2000. “I actively use my position with NYPL to advocate for special needs and provide effective programming that is unique and individualized to suit the needs of the special population. My greatest accomplishment is my son Christian, who is the light behind everything I do.” Click the picture below to hear Diane talk about how SKIP has helped her and her son.

Radio interview with Margaret Mikol by Lifestyle Radio.

Co-founder and Executive Director Margaret Mikol made her way to Staten Island recently to be interviewed by Lifestyle Radio host, Anthony “The A Train” Pabon. In this remarkable program, run by Lifestyles of the Disabled-Staten Island, all the radio hosts are intellectually challenged. Under the guidance of producer Burak Uzun, they select the music for their shows, learn to edit and produce, and are generally trained how to run a radio station. The shows’ topics range from rap music, to food, to sports, to a day spent at the zoo. Click on the picture below to hear Margaret’s interview about SKIP.

Margaret's Tribute to Avonte Oquendo.

Margaret talks about some challenges as we welcome 2014

Margaret talks about Friendraiser 2014, its importance to SKIP, and what it means to her.

March 05, 2014 - Notes from the field from Donna Andrzejewski, Regional Manager

March 05, 2014 -- Well, here in Western New York, we celebrate our winter months with lots of oohs and aahs and ouchs and “are you kidding me-s!!!.” We have had a boatload of snow, at just under 100” we are coming in on a record in accumulations and COLD!!!

March 05, 2014 - Notes From The Field From Jeremiah Webber, Assistant Manager

The month of March is just beginning and the winter season is soon to end! We in Rochester have become quite accustomed to cold and snowy winters, and this year was no exception. Brrr! Families have enjoyed adaptive ski lessons, ice skating, hot chocolate and movie nights at home, and making snow people in their front yards. I am sure glad though that the days are getting longer, and am looking forward to warmer weather, green grass, flowers, and the beginning of spring!

Message from Philip Lawrence, President of SKIP’s Board of Directors

Philip Lawrence has been President of SKIP’s Board of Directors for almost a decade. When he is not guiding and steering SKIP, he manages portfolios of high net worth families and pension funds as President and CEO of Inverness Counsel, LLC. He lives in Mount Kisco, NY with his wife Jill and their four children. “These are challenging times for SKIP, but exciting ones as well”, says Philip.

Jim Moran salutes SKIP of New York

With almost 30 years at the New York State Office for People With Disabilities (OPWDD), Jim Moran has had a distiguished career and a lifelong commitment to people with develomental disabilities. Jim (now retired) has been a great friend to SKIP and is knee deep into an assessment of SKIP over the last 30 years and directions it should go in the future. Click the picture above to listen to Jim talk about SKIP.

Notes From The Field From Jeremiah Webber, Assistant Manager

September 01, 2013 -- As summer presses on, so do we here in Rochester. We and our families have been enjoying weekly festivals, spending time at Ontario Beach, and enjoying the Finger Lakes wine country. Our families often visit the Strong Museum of Play, watch the Rochester Rhinos and Red Wings sports teams, visit the public market, and you can’t miss out on having a famous garbage plate and an ice cream cone from Abbotts! Mmmm.

Notes from the field from Donna Andrzejewski, Regional Manager

September 01.2012 -- Buffalo is basking in the glow of our wonderful summers and all the local festivals going on. If you can eat it, wear it, throw it or listen to it someone somewhere is having a festival dedicated to it in the Western New York area!!!!

A SKIP Success Story with Behavior Specialist, Stephanie Ross

Stephanie Ross has a master's degree in Psychology with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis. She was inspired to pursue a career in helping children with developmental disabilities after volunteering for a soccer program in California with kids with autism. She works with children in the Home and Community Based Waiver (HCBS) department who have community habilitation. As part of Stephanie’s roll, she visits families and takes video interviews to help better analyze their child's needs.

Intro for Marisa Altabet, a member of our Junior Board...

Marissa Altabet, a real estate agent at Corcoran, joined SKIP's Junior Board four years ago. Her hobbies are reading, the theater and playing with her schnauzer puppy, Barney. She loves to cook and whips up a mean brisket and pumpkin soufflé. Marissa and her husband Ed love to travel and are obsessed with getting to Bora Bora. "I couldn’t do everything I do for SKIP without the support of Ed or the amazing example set by my parents."

ON MY MIND...Back to School Tips

Margaret Mikol, Co-Founder and Executive Director

Thrity Years ago when SKIP was founded we helped ten families. This September nearly all of our 3,000 kids will attend school--and we still have some 300 to get off the wait list. I could not be more proud and I want to thank all the people of SKIP who work so tirelessly to make this happen. And as we enter the dog days of summer I would like to give our families a few back to school hints; to made the road back less bumpy.

A look behind the scenes at SKIP: An interview with SKIP Director of Training, Malia Faleafine

As Director of Training, Malia Faleafine oversees the training department and writes the curriculum for SKIP trainings. She also heads the enrollment and incident departments as well as making sure that all our hardworking employees get the recognition they deserve.

Randall Doud, Thad Hartmann of Skadden & Arps Recognized for Outstanding Volunteerism

July 27, 2012—Recently, the Lawyers Alliance for New York spotlighted the outstanding volunteer accomplishments of Skadden & Arps attorneys Randall Doud and Thad Hartmann on behalf of SKIP of New York and the thousands of disabled children SKIP serves each year.

A Look Inside SKIP

June 14, 2012 -- This video, produced for our recent Friendraiser, is a snapshot of what SKIP does and why it matters as seen through the eyes of SKIP families and staff.

Hurricane Puts Crunch on Thanksgiving Collection for SKIP Families in Need

November 8, 2012--Each Thanksgiving, SKIP brings the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner to its neediest families.  These are fellow New Yorkers who would not otherwise have Thanksgiving.  It’s called the Turkey Trot. SKIP’s Margaret Mikol started the tradition 25 years ago when she discovered there were families in SKIP’s care who had little to eat on Thanksgiving Day, and certainly not a turkey. We’re collecting for groceries now. The crunch is on because the storm shut our communications down for nearly 10 days. Here’s how you can help....

Bartlett, Powell to Return as Friendraiser Auctioneers May 17th, 2012

They make us laugh with their jokes. They make us cry with their compassion. They make us so grateful for their incredible generosity and friendship. They are Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell, stand-up comics who appear regularly on the Imus in the Morning Show and who lend such grace and humor to SKIP’s annual Friendraiser as our live auctioneers.  They're back again this year...

Drive to Fund External Email Underway

In our second annual Julia Appeal currently underway, we are seeking to fund an external email system for the 150 case managers and supervisors at SKIP who facilitate the way forward for more than 3,000 sick and disabled children each year. The Appeal is a celebration of the anniversary of Julia's birthday, the young girl who inspired the launch of SKIP nearly 30 years ago.  It supports her biggest wish--to make sure all sick and developmentally disabled kids get the chance to live at home with the people who love them most.  Just as different gifts are given for different birthdays, each “birthday gift for Julia” changes. The goal it serves does not....

SKIP Moves NYC Office to Starrett-Lehigh Building

Oct. 1, 2010—SKIP of New York was able to capitalize on the decreased demand for commercial real estate in the City to claim a plum spot on the 5th floor of the Starrett-Lehigh Building overlooking the Hudson River... It's 40,000 square feet of hope, help and possibilities...

Kids Helping Kids: SKIP Kids Donate Their Artwork to Fundraiser

July 11, 2011—Nearly 60 SKIP kids donated drawings for a special art exhibit at SKIP's recent Friendraiser.  All art was offered for sale; 100% of the funds raised went directly to getting kids off SKIP’s waiting list. 

Meredith Vieira Hosts 2011 SKIP Friendraiser

May 19, 2011—SKIP celebrated its 2011 Ruby Slipper Honorees Larry Inserra, Jr. and Mick Ebeling before a packed house of supporters this past May 19th at its annual Friendraiser event. The award presentation was emceed by former Today Show host Meredith Vieira in SKIP's new location overlooking the Hudson River...

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