NYS DOH ends contract with Feeney

It seems the efforts of this pen, the Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition, and others have finally paid off. Sources say the NYS Department of Health has cancelled its contract with Timothy J. Feeney et al effective the end of this month.

This writer revealed in 2008 that Mr. Feeney  misrepresents his educational credentials. He claims to have a valid masters degree and PhD when he has neither. Over the past three years this writer along with other real advocates – not the lip-service advocates in the state who seek headlines based on words not actions – have worked hard to have Mr. Feeney removed from his post in the Statewide Neurobehavioral Project, a group that was affiliated with the state’s Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver. Sources say the DOH has terminated the contract in its entirety.

Those who know me well, I mean really know me well, know I take no pleasure in Mr. Feeney’s demise nor in the demise of the other staff that worked in the project. However, like all of us, they are accountable for their choices. I am, however, very glad that survivors of brain injuries on the TBI Waiver, their families, and the many truly good providers of waiver services will no longer have to deal with Mr. Feeney. Life with brain damage is tough enough, dealing with dishonest people at the same time you are trying to learn how to manage life makes it all the tougher.

I have little doubt Mr. Feeney will continue to misrepresent himself in any venue he can. Hopefully others will be pick up where the DOH  left off and require he be honest or remove him from the field.

The NYS DOH has very little to be proud of when it comes to its oversight of the TBI Waiver; however, it can be proud of the decision to end the contract.

Ethics Welcome (Needed!) in NY State

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s directive that his staff along with top officials undergo ethics training is a breath of fresh air. There is nothing like fresh air to displace the pollution of unethical behavior, the stench of the latter being no more pronounced than it is in the way the state’s department of health manages the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Waiver.

I can’t imagine the  governor will be at pleased when he hears the DOH and their contract employees continue to present Timothy J. Feeney as being Dr. Feeney or Timothy J. Feeney PhD. despite the demand for ethics from the new administration. In fact, I suspect he will be angry. And, in all likelihood, not surprised. As Bloomberg news recently reported,  “New York’s legislature has fought off efforts to require disclosure of the amount and source of their outside income and be subject to an independent commission with the power to monitor and enforce ethics rules” so the unethical behavior coming out of the DOH is not new news.

Recently, Joan Barbieri, Long Island’s lead Regional Resource Development Specialist for the TBI Waiver sent out an email to waiver providers telling them at their  “February 16, 2011 Provider meeting Dr. Timothy Feeney Program Director from the Neurobehavioral Resource Project at Wildwood Institute will be in attendance and discussing the program." Not only is he not a doctor (the only valid college degree he does have is a bachelors) he is also no longer connected to Wildwood. I sent an email to the providers letting them know the information they were given was false. While providers need to be ethical, they bloody well deserve honesty and ethical behavior from the others.

Additional emails have also been sent to the DOH, Barbieri, and Maria Dibble, the executive director of the Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC). STIC subcontracts to Feeney knowing full well he lies about his credentials. No response from any of’m. Let me end this missive here.  Thought it might be nice to end without a surprise.

It’s the Ethnic Cleansing, Stupid: Part II

Max unfolds his Daily News for the umpteenth time and says, “They’re cutting all the subsidies.”

“Yankees lost again,”  Mort says, seeing the sports headline.

Martha looks at Mort, then Max, says, “They don’t care my brother. They’re denying services and cutting subsidies all over the place.”

Young woman twirling her coffee cup on the table top says, “This one dude on the waiver had to move, landlord needed the house for family, something like that, and because he stayed with a friend for a few weeks till he found his next place, they fucked him out of his rent and utility subsidies.”

Dolly says, “Where’s all the money going?”

Max folds his Daily News and slips it under his right arm, presses it tight against his chest. “The rent and utility subsidy is state money. Some of it’s going to Feeney.”

“The messianic little shit,” Martha says. “He’s still bullshittin’ planet earth about his college degrees, D-O-H doesn’t give a shit.”

“Brain Injury Association doesn’t either. You didn’t hear a peep out of them when his bullshit degrees became public,” Max says. “But that ain’t even the point. Think about this. They all march around saying how much they give a shit about us, but what happens. They’re throwin’ people off the waiver left and right, sending them into the streets with no housing help claiming they have no money, but they sign a contract  that’s throw’n more’n a quarter million state money to that asshole Feeney. You imagine how many folks could get housing help with that money?”

Dolly, tearing up again, says, “The fix is in.”

NYSARC & Feeney: the Corruption Continues

One has to wonder what St. Lawrence NYSARC is thinking about by inviting Tim Feeney to present at an upcoming conference on brain injury. St. Lawrence NYSARC his he is not a PhD yet accepting the fact he represents himself as such.  The brochure lists Feeney as “ the Clinical Director of the New York Neurobehavioral Resource Project at STIC (Sothern Tier Independence Center in Binghamton). The clinical corruption with a hefty incestuous streak becomes clearer by the day.

Feeney, as you may recall, was issued  a bogus “masters” degree as well as a bogus “PhD” by the now defunct  diploma mill, Greenwich University.

Consider this.

  • Emails to Maria Dibble, the executive director of STIC from the Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition, founded by and run by brain injury survivors and their families, the very people STIC and Feeney claim to care about, have simply been ignored.
  • Despite being fully informed about the fact Feeney does not have a valid PhD or a valid Masters degree, STIC appears to be perfectly comfortable with his misrepresenting himself, which does not say much for either’s opinion of survivors of brain injury and their loved ones, nor does it say much for their respect for the honest health care providers who are battling under great financial strain to provide the best services.
  • As for the hefty incestuous streak, add up the following facts:
    • Pat Gumson, the former DOH employee who, along with Bruce Rosen, oversaw the state’s TBI waiver, used to be a STIC employee.
    • This will be the second time STIC has, for all intents and purposes, acted as a front for Feeney.
    • The State Education Department oversees Independent Living Centers in the state. Who is the State Ed’s manager of the state’s ILCs, Robert Gumson, Pat Gumson’s husband.

What you can be sure of is the days of this corruption are numbered. I am not at liberty, yet, to disclose why this is so, but it is.  In the meantime, the tragedy is that a clinical predator like Feeney is enabled by the likes of STIC and others and this simply underscores what many of us who live with disabilities deal with on an all too regular basis; the message that somehow we are less valuable than others.

The First Brain Injury Summit – A Step in the Right Direction

While there are some difficult realities surrounding New York State’s Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver, all attendees at the first Brain Injury Summit held in Albany this week agree that the waiver is far more a blessing than it is a curse. Nearly 3,000 adults who live with brain injuries live in the community because of the waiver, and that is good news. There are also no plans to end the TBI Waiver. Deep breath all.

The summit was recorded and once I figure out how to post it online in its entirety, it will be posted. Transparency is critically important.

The attendees at this week’s two-hour summit, hosted by the Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition, pledged in no uncertain terms to work together to address the challenges now faced by waiver participants, providers and, not incidentally, by the New York State Department of  Health which deals with the perpetual pressures faced by any regulatory agency, particularly during hard economic times.

Those who attended the summit were (in alphabetical order) :

  • Marie Cavallo, president, Brain Injury Association of NY State
  • Bill Combes, NY State Commission on Quality of Care
  • Karina Davis-Corr, Providers Alliance
  • Peter S. Kahrmann, Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition
  • Mark Kissinger, Deputy Commissioner, NY State Department of Health
  • Sandra Ryden, Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition
  • Mary Seeley, acting Executive Director, Brain Injury Association of NY State
  • Joe Vollaro, Providers Alliance

While I can’t and won’t speak for the others at this meeting, I can tell you that discussion was wide ranging, direct, deeply respectful on all fronts, and serious. It was and is not lost on any of us that there are real financial pressures on everyone that are not of our own making.

I did say that they number one complaint I hear from people who live with brain injuries (and people with disabilities of all kinds) is we get treated like we are children, and in some cases like we are barely human. Part of the reason for this is a rather global lack of understanding about the brain and brain injury thus putting the most well-intentioned among us in the untenable position of having to make choices and decisions while not fully understanding the role the brain injury is playing in the person they are working with.

I also said, and all agreed, that there were no villains at the table, and this includes the DOH, the most commonly villainized of all. The DOH is like any other large entity. Some of its workers are great, some aren’t. 

As a result of the summit the Providers Alliance will begin to meet with the DOH at a cadence both parties agree on, and that is good news all around.

I am not going to go into a slew of details at this point. But I can tell you this, and if you know me or know of me you’ll know this is true, I genuinely felt everyone at the table truly gave a damn. If I did not feel this way, I would tell you.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention that I raised the subject of Timothy J. Feeney being only “moments” away from being part of the neurobehavioral project again, a disgraceful and despicable reality no matter how you hold it up to the light. However, the “hands” that manipulated the course that is poised to allow a clinical predator like Feeney back into the mix were not at the table. It is not yet clear who pulled the strings, but it will be. Trust me. It is just a matter of time.

One piece of Feeney-related good news that came to light at the summit is this: waiver providers are free to choose not to work with Feeney. Therefore, providers who do choose to work with him are, by default, acknowledging they don’t truly give a damn about the people they serve.

The next summit is scheduled for December 10, 2010.