As a result of the relentless pressure brought to bear on the NY State Department of Health by the Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition, several sources across the state this week confirmed that last month the DOH instituted a form letter that will inform TBI Waiver complainants of the results of their complaints.
The letter will identify the content of the complaint received, the fact the investigation was carried out, whether the complaint was or was not substantiated, and, if substantiated, the steps that were taken as a result. Moreover, if the complaint is about the Regional Resource Development Center – the RRDC is the agency contracted with the DOH to oversee the waiver in regions throughout the state which includes investigating complaints – or the investigation is not within the RRDC’s abilities, the complaint will be forwarded to DOH for investigation. This is a huge win for the advocacy community and for all New Yorkers who live with brain injuries.
KAC members who relentlessly pressured the DOH to institute a policy of informing complainants of the results of their complaints deserve the heartfelt gratitude of all who live with brain injuries and their loved ones. This change would not have come about were it not for their efforts.
It is also very important to make note the following. This confirmed information did not come from Deputy DOH Commissioner Mark Kissinger, nor did it come from anyone in the DOH in Albany. This is important to know for a few reasons.
It is very likely the last thing the DOH in Albany wants to do is give credit to any advocacy group for this policy change.
It is very likely the DOH did not publicly announce the change because in doing so they would have to admit their policy of not providing complaint results has been unjust and immoral all along.
And just to fire a warning shot across the bow of the good ship DOH, don’t even think about linking this change to the fact the Brain Injury Association of NY State’s contract for answering the complaint line ended as of October 1. BIANYS was never the reason complainants weren’t informed of the results. The sole responsibility for that inhumane policy rests squarely on the shoulders of the DOH.