It’s Nothing Personal

It seems some think my exposing a contract employee with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) for not having the college degrees he says  he has is something personal on my part. Wrong. Defining my action as something personal is a well-worn way of derailing advocates in the first place. Since the facts work against you, let’s say the advocate is on some personal vendetta and, if not a personal vendetta, off their rocker.

I am not off my rocker, at least not today (smile folks, there is nearly always room for humor), but my actions regarding Timothy J. Feeney are nothing personal.  In fact, it would be interesting to learn what, specifically, makes some think it is personal.  In other words, say it out loud folks, so we can all hear. Don’t be shy.

The facts of the matter are rather straightforward. Timothy J. Feeney presents himself as Dr. Feeney or Timothy J. Feeney PhD. He is neither. By his own admission, both his masters and his doctorate were issued by the now defunct Greenwich University, not to be confused with the prestigious University of Greenwich in England. Greenwich University was a non-accredited school, a diploma mill, that operated out of California and Hawaii in the 1990s before moving to Norfolk Island off the coast of Australia in 1998. Greenwich degrees are not recognized as valid anywhere in the United States, much less planet earth. Greenwich closed its doors in 2003.

Now to the question of why should this be a concern to all New Yorkers. First and foremost, when you are receiving health care in any form, you have a right to assume those providing the care are who they say they are. Moreover, if someone is going to make his or her living off of hard-earned taxpayer dollars, taxpayers have a right to assume they are who they say they are. This is not the case when it comes to Mr. Feeney. To make matters even worse, Mr. Feeney, in an unsolicited e-mail to readers of one of my blogs, said the DOH knew all along about the source of his bogus degrees.

Mr. Feeney is nearing the end of his third five-year contract with the state’s DOH as head of the Neurobehavioral Project which is arguably the most powerful influence over the implementation of the state’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Medicaid Waiver Program, in itself, a laudable presence.  The waiver provides services to brain injury survivors living in the community. However, it is anyone’s guess how many health care providers have had their doors closed by Mr. Feeney or had their ability to admit people into their program put on hold by Mr. Feeney and his staff. Moreover, one must ask how many survivors of brain injury have been denied waiver services or discharged from waiver services under the direction of Mr. Feeney, all under the pretense that he is, in fact, Dr. Feeney or, Timothy J. Feeney, PhD. Can you imagine being the mother or father of a child with brain injury and you acquiesce to Mr. Feeney’s directives only to find out later he misrepresented himself to you?

Then, of course, we come to the question of state taxpayer dollars. Several million dollars in state tax dollars have been earmarked for Mr. Feeney and his small staff over the years. His last contract alone provided for nearly $2 million in state tax dollars for salary and expenses.

Recently I sent a letter to DOH employee Patricia Greene-Gumson who, along with DOH employee Bruce Rosen, have been the two DOH employees closest to Mr. Feeney over the years, asking her to investigate the situation and to investigate why none of Mr. Feeney’s contracts require the head of the Neurobehavioral Project to have so much as a masters degree,  a fact that would lead some to suspect the contract of being jerry-rigged.  The letter was copied to Deputy DOH Commissioner Mark Kissinger, Ms. Gumson’s supervisor, and the Inspector General.

Feeney’s contract expires this September 30th. My hope is the DOH will not make the same mistake four contracts in a row.

Here’s the thing. When you live with a brain injury, as I do, or you are the mother or father of someone with a brain injury, or the husband or wife or sister or brother of someone with a brain injury, you have a right to expect those who are there to help you to be who they say they are. Anything short of that is unacceptable.

 

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