NYS DOH considering the possibility of justice

The NYS Department of Health says it will consider telling those who file complaints related to the state’s TBI Waiver  – primarily people with disabilities who live with brain injuries -  the results of their complaints. Currently complainants are never told. In fact, several RRDCs (Regional Resource Development Centers) throughout the state say they’ve been directed by DOH not to tell complainants the outcome of their complaints. RRDCs are agencies under contract with DOH to oversee waiver providers and participants.

On June 30th this writer sent an email to NYS Deputy DOH Commissioner Mark Kissinger which read, in part, “On behalf of Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition members and all those who care about brain injury survivors in the state, I am asking you to immediately issue a directive requiring that those who file complaints related to the TBI Waiver are to be informed of the results of their complaint within 60 days of filing the complaint.  Right now complainants are never informed of the outcome of their complaints – never.”

Kissinger responded via email saying, “I will have staff look into your suggestion and get back to you within a reasonable period of time.” I’ve heard nothing yet. It takes more than two weeks to decide if justice should be served?

I wonder what DOH staff have to look into? Are people really sitting around a table somewhere wondering whether complainants should be told the outcomes of their complaints? Who would argue that they shouldn’t? Well, the DOH for one.  Groups like the state’s Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and the Brain Injury Association of NY State need to publically speak up. Any and all groups who say they are committed to the notion that people with disabilities deserve equal justice under the law and equality on the regulatory front should be outraged, and outraged so others notice. Silence is not an option for them. To remain silent is to support the DOH’s continued assault on the rights of people who live with brain injuries.

If you want to let DOH know your feelings on this, you can write to Mark Kissinger at mlk15@health.state.ny.us or call his office at 518-402-5673.

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