NYS Department of Health: Keep’m in the dark

Murphy scoops a spoonful of sugar into his coffee and nudges the sugar bowl in Wrench’s direction. “So how do you think the conversation goes?” he asks.

“What conversation?” Wrench puts the lid on the sugar bowl and smiles. Since his accident Murphy’s memory gives him a hard time and he still doesn’t remember Wrench doesn’t take sugar, with anything for that matter.

“The DOH table, they’re in a meeting and whattaya think they say? You’d think they’d want to at least make an effort in acting like they give a damn about us.”

Wrench laughs. “Hard to imagine how they think they’re successful there. I mean, so they sit back and say, Okay, first thing we do is make sure these TBI people, like that’s all we are, have as little chance as possible in the fair hearings and the we keep using that form, what they call it?”

Sarah lifts her head from the pad she’s been doodling on. “PRI. It’s called a PRI. Patient Review Instrument. That’s how they assess us to see if we’d be in nursing homes without the waiver.”

“PRI,” Murphy says, eyes closed, trying to make it a memory. “The thing doesn’t address cognitive stuff at all.”

Sarah again. “That’s the idea. People been after’m for years to come up with another assessment form that really applies to brain injury and they don’t.”

Murphy, “You think they’re that stupid?”

“Like a snake stupid, they are. Long as they can use a bullshit tool the doesn’t apply to brain injury the more they can deny help to survivors and the more people they can throw off the waiver.” Wrench sips his black coffee.

“And then this latest thing they’re pulling.” Sarah leans back in her wheelchair and looks out the window. It’s begun to rain. “Now they’re dumping the mailing list they used to have to keep people informed of the meetings of that brain injury council.”

“Not to mention minutes and agendas,” Murphy adds.

“Keep the public in the dark, that’s the DOH motto,” Wrench says.

Sarah finishes drawing a straw hat a young boy that looks remarkably like Huckleberry Finn. “Maybe what we do is find out where they live –”

“Shit, they know where we live.”

“We get a bunch of us together, show up at their houses, bring cameras and recorders and some megaphones, and ask’m what’s up.”

“They’ll call the cops.”

Sarah smiles. “Good. Then the press will do something and won’t that be nice.”

“One thing,” Wrench says. “If we do this, we send out an email to everybody we know’n we make sure DOH ain’t on the email list.”

“Keep’m in the dark.”

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