As a dynamic self-advocate and activist, BJ Stasio is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people in his community. He proudly serves as the President of the Western Region of SANYS, the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State. The association spreads the awareness and recognition of civil rights and responsibilities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
While BJ works to empower others, he benefits from Care Coordination support through Person Centered Services. Care Coordinator Michele Halbert has provided BJ with impactful assistance for about two years.
“Michele is one of the best people I’ve worked with over my long history,” says BJ. “I have had 19 Care Coordinators or Medicaid Service Coordinators over the course of my life. Michele and I clicked right away! I respect her honesty.”
Person Centered Services has been critical in helping BJ navigate both Medicaid and third party insurance to secure the medical treatments and equipment he needs. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been an important lifeline for his needs.
“Michele always takes my call,” says BJ. “For months and months, we’ve been on the phone about lots of things! We learn from each other about working in the system, since we both have experience from different angles.”
Recently, Michele was able to connect BJ to supportive molded seating through countless emails and phone calls. Current projects also include securing a shower chair and special anti-glare glasses for BJ. Additionally, Michele and BJ work together to advocate for self-direction budget flexibility at the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
“BJ has been a pleasure to work with and I feel like he teaches me as much, or more, as I do him!” says Michele. “We talk several times a week to ensure that we are on the same page and updates are shared in a timely manner. I think we are a great team!”
While BJ has been strengthened by Care Coordination from Person Centered Services, he also helps strengthen our company through his insights. He works with members of our Family, Individual and Caregiver Advisory Board Committee (FICAB) to address needs and suggestions from the community.
“As an insider I see things that others don’t,” says BJ. “I make sure people understand what their rights are and are able to comprehend the forms they sign.”
In his self-advocacy work, BJ also partners extensively with Community Relations Manager Alan Venesky. They have worked together on presentations and webinars on student transition.
“I have learned a lot from BJ from both his service on our company’s advisory board, as well as his position as President of SANYS,” says Alan. “He is a model example of servant leadership. I continue to be humbled and inspired by his selflessness and mission to help others.”
We’re grateful for BJ’s impact on our work and are honored to support his goals through Care Coordination!