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Citizens Continues to Excel and Grow in 2019; Shoreham ICF Added to Agency

Building on the momentum of a successful 2019, Citizens Options Unlimited remains focused on a future of greater self-direction, community connections and opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The agency provides family supports, recreation and respite services, self-direction and residential services.

“It’s been a year of growth,” said Karen Tanzillo, Senior Director of Citizens Options Unlimited. “We are proud of what we’ve accomplished, but continue to look for new ways to offer the best possible services and further our mission.” In addition to acquiring the Shoreham ICF, Citizens opened a residential home for 6 people in spring of 2019.

In the spring of 2019, AHRC Nassau‘s family of organizations welcomed the opportunity to assist an outside program in need of a new direction. The Shoreham Intermediate Care Facility, which supports 82 people with developmental disabilities and complex medical needs, had faced ongoing compliance issues identified by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH).  These New York State agencies tapped AHRC Nassau leadership and Citizens program administration to set a new course after the program was decertified due to compliance violations.

Administrative leadership from Citizens developed and implemented a “turn-around” plan to support Shoreham’s team of 300 nurses, clinicians, direct support professionals and other roles.  The leadership team navigated weekly monitoring visits by OPWDD, the NYS DOH, and fire marshal. An open-door policy and ongoing forums with staff and families were essential in building a strong team.

“There were a number of very dedicated staff, who have worked at the Shoreham ICF for many years, some, whose tenure 15, 20, 30 and even is 35 years,” said Tanzillo. “The support of staff and families were key in this transition and serves as a foundation for our future success.”

Citizens achieved re-certification by all oversight agencies in September, six months after walking through their doors. To recognize this effort and officially welcome the Shoreham team, a celebration was held for all Citizens staffers from across Nassau and Suffolk counties to connect with new team members and enjoy a half-day of games, food, a live DJ, raffles and fellowship.

“Moving forward, we’re now focused on meeting CQL and COMPASS standards of excellence. It’s an ongoing process involving the people we support, their families and staff,” said Tanzillo. “It’s also an important part of our culture, that empowers our community to create the most meaningful results.”

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