Thoughts on the New York State Department of Health

The content of this essay may surprise some. Wouldn’t be the first time. On the whole, I happen to like the New York State Department of Health.  In all the years I’ve interacted with them,  with only one minor recent exception, the people at the DOH have been all I could hope for. No, I don’t always agree with every single policy, but so what?

What I can confidently say about my relationship with the DOH when it comes to the world of brain injury survivors in my state is this; I believe they genuinely do care and, I believe, they are doing their best and working far harder for their constituents  than they are given credit for.

A long time ago I went to work for a man who was used to being surrounded by mostly sycophants. Early on I told him, “Please understand that brown does not wear well on my nose.” I’d later learned this was something he liked about me. Anyway, brown didn’t wear well then and it doesn’t wear well now, so anyone doubting the sincerity of what I am saying here is mistaken.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver in  my state is, when all is said and done, a blessing. Does it have its problems? Sure. After all, any program taking on the significant challenge of helping people with brain injuries regain their independence and live in the community would. Moreover, we are all human beings who have never worn the countenance of perfection and never will and that’s okay. I can tell you that when I’ve sat across the table from people in the DOH, people like Mary Ann Anglin, Beth Gnozzio, Mark Kissinger, Lydia Kosinksi and more, I am sitting across the table from people who genuinely care.

While the experience of living with a brain injury is not easy on any front, it would be far more difficult for the 2,700 or so people now on the waiver, which is managed by the DOH.

If I had my way all those just mentioned would come to the brain injury summit scheduled for next month. They’re certainly more than welcome.


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