New York Statewide Senior Action Council Records, 1974-2001
- The New York StateWide Senior Action Council records document the issues faced by senior citizens in New York State over the course of almost three decades. The bulk of the records consist of subject files in the areas of health care, Medicare, and social security issues. In addition to topical material, these records document the fundraising activities of the organization and its various sub-groups. Notably included are publications issued by the organization, including the Sentinel newsletter (1992-1996) and the Senior Action newspaper (1977-1991). The bulk of the material, found in the subject files, is useful for documenting issues about which NYSSAC was active. NYSSAC's work with New York state legislators, as well as government and private agencies in advocating for seniors and social justice issues, and their outreach efforts in education and advocacy, are well documented throughout the collection. Records of the activities of Executive Directors Michael Burgess and Bonnie Ray are the most prominent in the collection.
- 14.05 cubic ft.
- English .
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, New York Statewide Senior Action Council (NYSSAC) Records, 1974-2001. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the NYSSAC Records).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
The New York StateWide Senior Action Council records document the issues faced by senior citizens in New York State throughout the late 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The bulk of the records consist of topical subject files related to issues about which the activists in NYSSAC were concerned, particularly health care, Medicare, and social security issues. In addition to topical material, these records document the fundraising activities of the organization and its various sub-groups. Also included are publications issued by the organization, including the Sentinel newsletter (1992-1996) and the Senior Action newspaper (1977-1991).
The collection is particularly strong in documenting issues involving Medicare, Long-Term Care, DRGs, and PRO issues. Series 4: Subject Files; Sub-series 1: Health Care/Medicare, includes source material, news clippings, articles, and supporting material documenting these issues, with particularly strong material dating from 1985-2000. Sub-series 2: Senior Advocacy, of the same series, includes a strong set of materials relative to SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
The bulk of the material, found in Series 4: Subject Files, is useful for documenting issues about which NYSSAC was active over the course of almost three decades. There is limited material from the first ten years (1972-1982) of the organization and relatively little material from the years immediately prior to the accession of this material in 2001. NYSSAC's work with New York state legislators, both Government and private agencies advocating for Seniors and social justice issues, and their outreach efforts in education and advocacy, are well documented throughout the collection. Records of the activities of Executive Directors Michael Burgess and Bonnie Ray are the most prominent in the collection.
- Biographical / Historical:
The New York StateWide Senior Action Council (NYSSAC) is a grassroots membership organization made up of individual senior citizens and senior citizen clubs from all parts of New York State. NYSSAC was organized in 1972 from War on Poverty funds with the goal of developing a statewide organization of older New Yorkers who could advocate for their interests and needs regarding services, programs and policies effecting older persons. NYSSAC's unique history and role has been to focus on the needs of low-income and minority seniors. Although there have been some revisions of the organizational by-laws through the years (see Chronology), the mission of NYSSAC has remained constant.
The New York StateWide Senior Action Council Mission statement:
To achieve through united action the dignity, well-being and security of all senior citizens of New York State;
To provide a unified and articulate voice on behalf of older New Yorkers, especially as advocate for the low-income elderly and low-income persons of all generations;
To promote the general well-being of the aging through educational processes outlining the legislative needs of the elderly;
To promote the best interest of children and youth by intergenerational programs of mutual support;
To develop in the community an awareness of the needs and the capabilities of older persons;
To help develop the leadership abilities of the elderly through leadership training and skills utilization;
To monitor programs and services to the elderly of New York State to ensure their full representation and participation in planning, implementation and evaluation. [New York StateWide Senior Action Council: Older New Yorkers' Grassroots Advocacy Voice Since 1972. 6/18/03. www.nysenior.org/About_StateWide. 6/19/03].
As of 2001, in addition to the core senior action council, NYSSAC is comprised of several other branches targeting specific issues facing seniors; these include the Patients' Rights Project which sponsors the Patient's Hotline and deals with Peer Review Organizations (PRO) and Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) issues; the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Advocacy Group with 50 groups statewide, and the Rural Senior Health Organizing Project (RSHOP). NYSSAC also consists of satellite Regional Councils that work in association with the statewide council in Albany.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, NYSSAC has worked on a number of issues and provided trainings and educational workshops throughout the state. In its first decade (1972-1982), NYSSAC addressed issues affecting low-income seniors, through outreach and advocacy training in areas that included Food Stamps; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Energy Assistance Programs, and the Senior Citizen Crime Victim and Prevention Program.
Throughout the 1980s, NYSSAC played a key role in advocating for laws ending mandatory retirement and enacting the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program. In 1986, Rose Kryzak (1900-1999) led senior activists in a march on Governor Cuomo's office, demanding action on EPIC legislation. In 1988, NYSSAC used a New York Foundation grant to fund the Development and Restructuring Project, aimed at making NYSSAC financially self sufficient for basic operations. At the same time, the Rural Senior Health Organizing Project (RSHOP) under the direction of Joan Butcher, expanded operations and conducted research with grants from the Campaign for Human Development (CHD).
During the 1990s NYSSAC continued to be active primarily in promoting health care issues relevant to seniors. The health care reform battles of the early 1990s generated a large body of records pertaining to the Clinton Health Plan, Single-Payer Plans. The Patient's Rights Project became very active on issues pertaining to Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) and Peer Review Organizations, particularly after the 1995 appointment of Bonnie Ray as Health Care Advocate. Likewise, the RSHOP continued to work with the Campaign for Human Development throughout the 1990s.
The 1995 reappointment of Michael Burgess as Executive Director and the appointment of Bonnie Ray as Health Care Advocate led to new focuses for NYSSAC. The failure of the Clinton Health Plan and entrenchment of the HMO system has made issues such as the Patient's Bills of Rights, DRG reform, and PRO management, important targets of NYSSAC's action.
Chronology : 1972New York StateWide Senior Action Council formed with War on Poverty funds.1982Michael Burgess becomes executive director.1986New York StateWide Senior Action Council campaign results in passage of Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program (EPIC) to pay for prescription drugs for low-income seniors.1987Michael Burgess resigns as executive director. Bonnie Ray assumes post as Executive Director. Patient Advocacy Project established with funding from a Citizen Action Grant.1988NYSSAC undertakes a Development and Restructuring Project to make the organization financially self-sufficient for basic operation. Project funded by a New York Foundation Grant. Revisions of original NYSSAC By-laws adopted on September 27, 1988.1988-1989The Rural Senior Health Organizing Project conducts a two year study on rural health conditions in 12 counties in New York State, funded by a Campaign for Human Development Grant.1988-1990Michael Burgess serves on Peer Review Organization Liaison Committee.1989Donna Rudinski named Development Director for NYSSAC.1990Rose Kryzak Legacy Fund created in honor of senior activist Rose Kryzak's 90th birthday. Interest from this fund is used to provide support to low-income seniors to participate in training conferences, and advocacy activities. Michael Burgess helps negotiate contract for Island Peer Review Organization.1995Michael Burgess resumes post as executive director. Bonnie Ray assumes post as health care advocate.
- Acquisition information:
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by the New York StateWide Senior Action Council in February 2001.
The collection is organized into five series.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2001 by Andrew Ashton, July 2001, Ellen Ronnlund, June 2003.
- Social Activists and Public Advocates
Medicine and Health Care
Senior power--New York (State)
Older people--New York (State)--Political activity
Age discrimination--New York (State)
Older people-- Abuse of--New York (State)
- Burgess, Michael
New York StateWide Senior Action Council