The New York State Department of Health deserves enormous credit for its consistent willingness to interact with the Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition. Any notion some of us may have had that there would be resistance to interacting with us was quickly erased by DOH officials, and in discussions with KAC members subsequent to my recent meeting with DOH officials, the gratitude is very real.
Assurances that Timothy J. Feeney’s will not have the contractual authority he had under previous contracts (there were three five-year contracts, one with STIC who subcontracted the work to Feeney and two directly with Feeney’s company) were deeply appreciated, especially since DOH officials fully acknowledge that two of Feeney’s college degrees are not valid (he does not have a valid masters degree or a valid PhD).
There are some things that need to kept front and center and in focus. While it is true that the DOH is entering into a contract with STIC (Southern Tier Independence Center in Binghamton, NY) and not with Timothy J. Feeney’s companies, School and Community Support Services Inc. and School and Community Support Services (one is for profit, one is not-for-profit), the DOH entered into the agreement knowing full well STIC would be giving Feeney they work and that Feeney will be misrepresenting his credentials when he does the work the contract calls for.
One of the things that has been again made clear to me over the past 24 hours is this. Survivors of brain injuries and their families and quite a few providers are disgusted that anyone would knowingly enter into a contract knowing the contract’s deliverables will be provided by someone who will be clinically misleading the very people he is supposed to be helping.
What would officials say when the mother of a brain injury survivor who asks, “Why is it okay for my son to be treated by someone who says he’s a doctor when he’s not?” Would anyone actually say, That’s not the point, his educational credentials are not the point, the contract deliverables don’t involve that.
What would they say to the wife who asks, “How is it that the state pays a couple of hundred thousand dollars to someone knowing that Feeney does have the credentials he says he does? Would they be okay if he was treating their husband?”
What would they say to the Vietnam Veteran who said, “I’ve been through enough shit in life, they expect me to listen to this fraud and they’re paying him?”
These are real questions from real people. They deserve answers. The answer they feel they are getting is that they do not deserve the best. Giving someone clinical power in the lives of others knowing that he or she is willfully misleading them is inexcusable.
However, it is in a very real way reassuring to all to hear that Feeney will not have the power he did before. And, it was clear to me that all the officials that I met with will not tolerate any intimidation tactics whether they be aimed at consumers, families or providers. Officials made a good point too when they said people have to report these tactics, file complaints. They were clear about this, and I believe them.