No Brain Injury Training for NY RRDSs

The very people hired by the New York State Department of Health to oversee the implementation of the state’s traumatic brain injury waiver receive no mandatory training in brain injury or the brain. 

Two Regional Resource Specialists from the Capitol Region, Maria Relyea and Robert Korotich, acknowledged in a meeting this week that the Department of Health requires no mandatory training in brain injury for RRDSs statewide. 

Given the fact it is the RRDSs who issue the decisions that brain injury survivors will have the services cut or denied altogether, the fact those issuing these decisions are not required to undergo any training about the brain is inexcusable. It’s tantamount to hiring a couple of folks off the street to have them oversee the care of those who’ve sustain spinal cord injuries or are dealing with Parkinson’s  when, with few exceptions, they don’t know anything about SCIs or Parkinson’s.

When you couple this with the fact the state’s Department of Health knowingly signed a contract that will funnel hundreds of thousand of dollars in the direction of Timothy J. Feeney, a PhD wannabe who continues to misrepresent his educational credentials and who has had, according to his own resume, no real training in brain injury, it is hard to reach any conclusion other than the DOH and those of Feeney’s ilk don’t give a damn about those of us who live with brain injuries.

The other conclusion that can be, I think, safely drawn, is the DOH feels it is appropriate to hire people to oversee  the TBI Waiver and directly influence the services waiver participants get or don’t get who are simply not qualified to do so. This is not only unfair, immoral and damaging to brain injury survivors, it is unfair, immoral and damaging to the many companies and individuals around the state who provide services to brain injury survivors. After all, they are expected to following the DOH/RRDS marching orders when the latter tandem knows less about brain injury than the providers do. 

The meeting this week referenced above was the conference I’d asked for that is allowed to take place before a Fair Hearing. My fair hearing is scheduled for December 1. Although I’d written to these RRDSs asking for the conference provided for before a fair hearing, both claimed they didn’t realize this weeks conference was the conference before the fair hearing, claiming that they thought I just wanted to talk about the DOH’s denial of my assistive technology requests.

And just when you thought things could get any slipperier.

Oh, almost forgot. I did inform both Ms. Relyea and Mr. Korotich that I want to have the pre-fair hearing conference with them before the fair hearing. I followed that up with and email confirming this.

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3 thoughts on “No Brain Injury Training for NY RRDSs

  1. Hey bro, it's been awhile. I've been dealing with getting Dad situated in a stable living arrangement.I know of Rob, had run across him in an agency that we both had worked at prior. He has experience and training from that agency at any rate.I do agree that it is shameful that the DOH provides no mandatory specialized training to its' employees in our issues. Meanwhile, folks like Tim and Moe will continue to flaunt their non-existent PhDs. And "they" call us brain-damaged.Spike

  2. Rob K. served as a TBI service coordinator for years before going to the DOH. I know first hand how extremely knowledgeable he is about TBI. The RRDS' may not have formal training, but Rob and others (eg, Karen Thayer) have attended every BIANYS conference and the DOH "Best Practices" conferences for years and have a pre-DOH history of consumer advocacy. And if you think the RRDS make all the FINAL decisions, you are MISTAKEN! What might be on paper, is not necessarily reality! Sheila B.

  3. Peter,The RRDS do not have any training and many times experience with people with brain injuries and/or disabilities in general. Some do not have a bachelor's degree in the field which I think to be able to work as a RRDS people should have. Also some are hired with limited previous relevant experience.

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