New York State’s Brain Injury Association and Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council are not interested in defending the rights of brain-injured New Yorkers.
Brain-injured New Yorkers who file complaints related to the TBI Waiver are never informed of the results by the state’s Department of Health. Both BIANYS and the TBISCC are well aware of this; their refusal to address the matter reflects their position.
Waiver providers are not allowed by the DOH to advocate for brain-injured New Yorkers at Medicaid Fair Hearings; both BIANYS and the TBISCC are well aware of this; their refusal to address the matter reflects their position.
The assault on housing subsidies being inflicted by the DOH on brain-injured New Yorkers, a campaign that puts some at risk for homelessness and threatens the lives of others. In one instance a federal court judge had to step in protect the life of one brain-injured senior from the DOH Campaign. Both BIANYS and the TBISCC are well aware of the DOH housing-cuts campaign; their silence on the matter reflects this position.
Both groups have been asked repeatedly to address all these issues and while the TBISCC gives intermittent lip-service to the Medicaid Fair Hearings question, BIANYS – which proclaims itself the leading advocacy organization in the state for brain-injured New Yorkers – remains stone silent. At the beginning of yesterday’s council meeting Judith Avner, assistant chair of the council and executive director of BIANYS, said the council needed to hear what the actual DOH policy was regarding fair hearings. The DOH has for months been saying they’re working on a policy. One might think Ms. Avner’s statement was reason for hope but when DOH official MaryAnn Anglin arrived at the meeting later no council member, including Ms. Avner, asked her about the fair hearing policy.
It seems one has a better chance of nailing Jell-O to the wall than getting the council to offer the DOH proposals that have anything whatsoever to do with the TBI Waiver. It had been proposed by this writer on behalf of the Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition the the council formally recommend that all DOH staff, contract and otherwise, be required to take training in brain injury now offered by BIANYS. DOH staff and contract staff involved with brain injury receive no mandatory training in the brain or in brain injury. While BIANYS is not the advocacy organization it claims to be, it is, without question, the best educational resource for understanding brain injury in the state. The council can’t even make this recommendation!
The DOH’s intentions are clearly sinister. One can only conclude that the reason for blocking waiver providers from supporting their brain-injured clients at Fair Hearings is to undercut the client’s ability to prevail, thus making it easier for the DOH to kick them off the waiver. One can only conclude the reason complainants are not given the results of their complaints is a reflection of the DOH covering its, well, ass. One can only conclude the reason the DOH is kicking as many people off the waiver and out of their homes as possible is to save money, even though this literally risks human life.
The silence of BIANYS and the TBISCC tells us both groups agree with the DOH, at least the leadership of both groups does.
When this writer spoke during the public comment period at yesterday’s meeting and told the council that there are brain-injured New Yorkers whose lives are at risk because of the actions of the DOH and the silence of BIANYS and the council, council chair Michael Kaplen responded by immediately adjourning the meeting.
BIANYS and TBISCC leadership needs to either step up or step out, and soon.