Federal Court Protects Disabled Senior’s Life from NYS Department of Health

Federal District Court Judge David N. Hurd last week issued a temporary restraining order stopping the NYS Department of Health from throwing a 66-year-old disabled woman off the the TBI Waiver and ending her housing subsidy and demanding the woman pay them $24,000, all without explanation. Actions that would have likely put her life in danger by rendering her homeless.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court Northern Region:  Francine Taishoff received a letter from the DOH in May 2011 informing her that she was no longer on the waiver as of 2008, her housing subsidy should have stopped in 2008, and she owed them $24,000 in back housing subsidy. Never mind that she’d actually been receiving waiver services when she received the May letter. Never mind that the  DOH had signed off on and approved her participation and housing subsidy over the years. The letter didn’t even bother to tell her why she was being thrown off the waiver and having her subsidy ended, nor did it tell her how she could appeal the decision.

And so, without explanation, the NYS DOH appears to have knowingly put a 66-year-old woman’s life at risk and billed her $24,000 in the process. A woman who suffered a stroke while in her twenties with a monthly income of $761 and $200 in food stamps.

It will be interesting to see if tragic events like this will make the state’s Brain Injury Association and Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council come out and fight or, will both groups, particularly the Brain Injury Association who claims it’s an advocacy group, remain publically silent as they have in the past.

One group that did not remain silent was Legal Services of Central NY out of Syracuse. Two of their lawyers represented Ms. Taishoff: Christine S. Waters and Samuel C. Young .  Ms. Waters works along with the state’s Commission on Quality of Care, the latter being the state’s protection and advocacy agency for individuals with brain injury.

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