A September 16th letter from the New York State Department of Health might lead some to think the DOH has no problem awarding several million dollars to a neurobehavioral project headed by a man who continues to misrepresent his credentials to those he serves. Timothy J. Feeney continues to represent himself as Dr. Timothy J. Feeney or Timothy J. Feeney PhD when he is no more a doctor than Felix the Cat is.
Feeney presents himself to brain injury survivors and their families as having a PhD and master’s degrees when he doesn’t. He did get bogus degrees from a diploma mill located in Hawaii and California in the 1990s before moving its operation to Norfolk Island off the coast of Australia in 1998. Greenwich University, not to be confused with the prestigious University of Greenwich in England, was a non-accredited diploma mill that graces numerous diploma mill lists on the net. It closed its doors in 2003.
Despite the fact Feeney himself says the DOH new all along about his degrees, he has, for nearly 15 years now, headed up the Neurobehavioral Resource Project for New York State’s Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver. The NRB is arguably the most powerful influence over the TBI Waiver, a Medicaid program designed to provide services to brain injury survivors across the state. While there is no argument that the TBI Waiver is needed because it affords many with brain injuries the chance to live in the community, there is also no argument that those who live with brain injuries, their loved ones, and the hard working companies that provide waiver services, have a right to expect people to be who they say they are.
Letters to DOH employee Patricia Greene-Gumson along with a second letter to Deputy DOH Commissioner Mark Kissinger raising the issue of Feeney’s false claims and calling for an investigation not only into Feeney and his conduct but into who wrote the three contracts that don’t require the head of the project to have so much as a master’s degree. The two letters resulted in the September 16th one-page response from a Lydia Kosinski , Assistant Director for the Division of Home and Community Based Services. In her letter Kosinski says the DOH was more concerned with work experience than college degrees when it chose the director of the NRP. While Feeney’s resume does not reveal much experience with brain injury in the first place, the question of his misrepresenting himself still lingers and was left untouched in the letter.
While I will try to hold to the belief that the DOH is not the villain here, the Kosinski letter has begun to loosen my grasp.
One thing is for sure, if Feeney’s contract, which expires the 30th of this month, is renewed, there will be every reason to conclude that the DOH is more supportive of the disingenuous Feeney than it is of those us who live with brain injuries..
It is flat out tragic when you get the message that asking people to be who they say they are is asking too much.