NY State Department of Health Wounds Again

Bad enough for 15 years the DOH either turned a blind eye or was too dysfunctional to  figure out that Tim Feeney, arguably, the most powerful person managing the Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver at the time, had bogus credentials and  was prancing around the state and beyond claiming he had a PhD and Masters Degree when didn’t. Now the DOH has issued a dangerous directive to companies providing services to brain injury survivors in New York that will prove devastating to the quality of life for many survivors and, not incidentally, is brutally unfair to some class-act providers across the state.

A couple of years back the DOH determined that providers offering home care staff needed to become licensed home care agencies. Many providers did just that, and some who are waiting on a response to their already-filed applications have been told, reportedly by a by-telephone directive from DOH employee Beth Gnozzio, they have 30 days to transfer their survivors to agencies that are already licensed home care agencies.

Never mind that these agencies lived up to their end of the bargain, never mind that survivors and families will suffer. Compassion and fairness are, in this and too many other instances, not on the menu for survivor, their families and those providers that are, in truth, honorable.

Follow the Money

This blog hopes that every survivor demands a fair hearing in response to this and, it would be interesting to follow the money. In other words, did any already-licensed home care agency contribute or give money in a way that prompted this decision?

The Second Victimization

This brutal directive is unfair to providers who’ve trained their staff and and lived up to their end of the filing for licensure process with the DOH. Worse still, it is brutal because it will mean the consumers, survivors like me, will suffer even more loss. They will lose relationships with people and agencies they have come to trust and rely on. In victimology, the treatment crime victims all too often experiences at the hands of the system is accurately called the second victimization, and so it is in this case.

Rumors Say Housing Subsidy at Risk

On top of this, rumors persist that the housing subsidy for those participating in the waiver is about to be cut, which would be devastating and likely keep people in or send people back to institutions and, in some cases, create homelessness.

Get Your Voices Heard

This blog is urging all interested parties to call and write to Beth Gnozzio and, perhaps more importantly, to call and write Deputy Commissioner Mark Kissinger.

Ms. Gnozzio can be reached at 518-486-4315. Her e-mail is mjg07@health.state.ny.us.

Mark Kissinger can be reached at 518-402-5673. His e-mail is mlk15@health.state.ny.us

And Remember

Your independence is only as strong as the independence of your neighbors.

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NY DOH Official Says Bogus Degrees Irrelevant

A New York State Department of Health official this week said it’s irrelevant that one of the department’s high-ranking contract employees misrepresents his credentials to the public he is being paid to serve.

When asked why a September 16 letter to this advocate did not address the fact Timothy J. Feeney continues to refer to himself as Dr. Feeney or Timothy J. Feeney PhD when he is neither, the DOH’s Lydia Kosinski said: “It’s irrelevant. People can call themselves reverend, honorable, the divine Miss M, the point is what he does.”

Kosinski said the contract does not require the director of the Neurobehavioral Resource Project (NRP)  to have a PhD or Masters degree, a disturbing fact in and of itself. Asked about the fact Mr. Feeney’s continues to present himself to the public as Dr. Feeney or Timothy J. Feeney PhD, Ms. Kosinski said, “He signs his name Mr. Feeney when he communicates with us,” and admission of sorts that the DOH know only too well the kind of “game” Feeney is playing.

For 15 years now Feeney has headed up the NRP for New York State’s Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver. Several million in state tax dollars have funded the project The NRP is arguably the most powerful influence over the TBI Waiver, a Medicaid program designed to provide services to brain injury survivors across the state. Mr. Feeney’s contract expires September 30 and the question is, will it be renewed, directly or by awarding it a company that then hands the reigns back to Mr. Feeney.

According to the September 16 letter, the current contract is held by the Southern Tier Independent Living Center (STIC) in Binghamton and they handed the reigns to Mr. Feeney. Mr. Feeney’s resume says he received his masters and doctorate from a now defunct diploma mill called Greenwich University that operated in Hawaii and California in the 1990s before moving to Norfolk Island of the coast of Australia in 1998. Greenwich closed its doors in 2003. Degrees issued by Greenwich are not recognized as valid anywhere in the world.

Calls to Deputy Commissioner Mark Kissinger’s office and State Health Care Commissioner Richard Daines’ office have not been returned.