It took the combined efforts of the NYS Commission on Quality of Care, an RRDC (Regional Resource Development Center) with real principles, the Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition, and the threat of legal action to get the NYS Department of Health to drop its efforts to block this writer’s request for three-white noise machines needed to manage marked noise sensitivity secondary to my brain injury.
A complete recount of my efforts to get the white-noise machines and the DOH’s determination to prevent me from doing so can be read in a preceding blog post. Suffice it to say that a ruling resulting from a December 1, 2010 Medicaid Fair Hearing overturned the DOH’s denial of my white-noise machine request, telling them that they needed to consider more evidence documenting the need for the machines.
More evidence was provided and the Southern Tier Independence Center, the RRDC in my area, sought to approve the request before the DOH’s Maribeth Gnozzio stepped in and blocked the approval. How do you spell retaliation? Try G-n-o-z-z-i-o. However, were Gnozzio the exception to the rule at DOH she’d be long gone, but she’s not, which tells us she is an example of what the rule is at the DOH, and those DOH employees who do care, are in the minority.
Once Gnozzio blocked the white-noise machine request a request for an expedited Medicaid Fair Hearing went into effect. Once that happened, and once, I am sure, Gnozzio and the DOH realized their actions would accurately be seen as retaliation, a knowing attempt to harm me, and a flat-out violation of the ADA, they backed off. Gnozzio and the DOH also realized they were dealing with an RRDC who truly does care and was not about to back off its principles for anyone.
If the DOH wants to reveal that Gnozzio is an exception to the DOH mindset or signal that it is committed to changing it’s mindset, I’ve got a two-word suggestion that would go a long way on both fronts: fire Gnozzio.