NY State DOH & Southern Tier Independence Center: a $1 million relationship

The Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) out of Binghamton, New York landed three contracts with NY State’s Department of Health totaling more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars.  Two of the contracts run from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010 and one of the contracts runs from April 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. One question, yet to be answered despite the question being sent directly to Mark Kissinger, the DOH’s deputy commissioner for the Office of Long Term Care, is why all these contracts are still active even though they appear to have expired. It is, after all, 2011.

Another question is this. How is it that STIC managed to land all three contracts? While the answer to this question may well be a perfectly reasonable one, the fact STIC and the DOH entered into one contract knowing full well that the work was going to be given to a company led by an individual both parties knew misrepresents his educational credentials to everyone can do nothing but cast a cloud of suspicion over all three contracts.

Here are the three programs covered by the three contracts (the program description is taken directly from the contract itself):

  • Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration of & Outreach to Nursing Home Residents Contract
    • Contract runs from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010
    • Funding amount: $100,000
  • Statewide Neurobehavioral Resource Project (Work given to School and Community Resource Inc. headed by Timothy J.Feeney who misrepresents his credentials)
    • Contract runs from April 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010
    • Funding Amount: $300,000
  • Regional Resource Development Center for the NH Transition and Diversion & Individuals w/Traumatic Brain Injury Home and Community-Based Medicaid Waivers
    • Contract runs from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010
    • Funding Amount: $610,000

One has to wonder how many bid on all the above contracts and how as it STIC managed to land all three? Past emails to STIC Executive Director Maria Dibble have not been responded to and the current email to Kissinger has not received a response to date.


NY TBI Waiver: Not Always Health or Care

I’ve been living in a new county in New York for four months now and I am still waiting for the TBI Waiver’s RRDC (Regional Resource Development Center), the contract employee of the state’s Department of Health that represents the DOH and oversees those who provide waiver services and waiver service recipients, like myself, in a particular region, to approve my service plan.

Not a surprise, though it should be.

Now, to say the the state’s DOH has been anything but impressive in it’s management of the waiver of late is an understatement. Let’s add another fact to the mix. The RRDC in my area is STIC,  the Southern Tier Independence Center in Binghamton.  Have you read about them before in this blog? Of course you have. They’re the ones who hired Timothy J. Feeney of fictitious college degree fame to play a major role in STIC’s new contract for the Neurobehavioral Project linked to, wait for it, the TBI Waiver.  When STIC’s executive director, Maria Dibble, was notified that Feeney’s claim to have a valid masters and doctorate was bogus, it apparently didn’t matter.

Is it any wonder there is some inexplicable delay in signing my service plan? I am waiting for a discharge from the waiver notice any day now claiming that somehow the brain injury I live with has, what, gotten better? In truth, it debilitating impact on my life has increased dramatically. But I don’t expect that matters to some either.

As a side note, or perhaps not so side note, it is also worth noting that I’ve yet to receive a decision from my Fair Hearing held on December 1, 2010, a Fair Hearing in which we sought to reverse the DOH’s denial of my request for a life alert and white noise machines given the increase in sound sensitivity I live with. And hey, this month is an anniversary of sorts, given that it is now one year since we first asked for them.

Like I said, the TBI Waiver is not always healthcare because sometimes it lacks commitment to health and sure as hell lacks care.

Who Pressured NY DOH into Bringing Back a Clinical Predator?

Someone must have pressured the New York State Department of Health to enter into a contract that allows a clinical predator back into the lives of brain injury survivors, their families and those who provide services to them. Some political favor or debt has called in, someone with some pull who clearly cares absolutely nothing about brain injury survivors.

I make this observation because it is the only thing that makes sense. There are some truly good people working at the DOH who really do care about brain injury survivors. But who among them (or anyone for that matter) can say with a straight face that they are comfortable with the department’s entering into a contract that allows Timothy J. Feeney, who by all accounts is nothing but a full-blown narcissist, back into the lives of those of us living with brain injuries.

There are some good people at the DOH and I dare say many would be forced to bite deep into their tongues in order to get themselves to say, “I think it is fine that someone who lies about his credentials to everyone provides services related to the TBI Waiver.” Don’t forget, Feeney and his company are already an approved provider of waiver services which makes one wonder what will be done about the obvious conflict of interest now that the clinical predators are back as the “neurobehavioral project.”  But Feeney doesn’t stop there. Let’s not forget that only this week Feeney was up in Washington County’s Fort Ann School District working with disabled children, never mind that school officials know his credentials are bogus. So much for putting children first.

A DOH official who  I will not name said the DOH has been assured by Maria Dibble, the executive director of the Southern Tier Independence Center, the recipient of the more than $250,000 contract that will hand the work to Feeney, that the provisions of the contract will be carried out in the highest professional manner. As presented, Ms. Dibble’s reassurance would actually be funny were it not so morally and clinically troubling – not too mention absent any relationship to  reality. How on earth can you provide quality services when you know the person providing them is lying about their credentials?

An email asking Ms. Dibble to explain STIC’s support for Feeney has gone unanswered.

Back to the question of the day. Who is pulling the strings? Is it solely a coincidence that Patricia Greene Gumson, a former DOH employee and Feeney supporter used to work at STIC? Sources have made it clear that both Ms. Gumson and current DOH employee Bruce Rosen had the reality of Feeney’s invalid college degrees brought to their attention and they did nothing about it.  There is no doubt that Gumson and Rosen did some admirable things over the years, no doubt at all. But this truth does not spare them accountability for supporting a clinical predator who likes to call himself “the angel of death” and has been known to be a bully. I’ve heard him refer to himself like this and the late Dr. Mark Ylvisaker often referenced Feeney’s penchant for this macabre moniker.

But back to the question at hand. Who pulled the strings for Feeney? To where or to whom does the corruption thread lead? One possible clue would be to watch which provider Feeney buddies up with.

Anyway, the truth will out.


Feeney, the White House, Editors, Elected Officials & Criminal Investigations

If New York State enters into a contract allowing Timothy J. Feeney to once again impact the lives of survivors of brain injury and those who provide services to them, several things will take place. Before I get to them, let’s review some of the facts.

  • Fact: For more 15 years now Timothy J. Feeney has misrepresented his educational credentials to New York State Officials, people with brain injuries of all ages, children with disabilities, educational institutions and healthcare providers.
  • Fact: Feeney’s so-called PhD and so-called Masters Degree were issued by Greenwich University, a now defunct diploma mill whose degrees are not recognized as valid anywhere in the world.
  • Fact: The New York State Department of Health now knows Feeney has misrepresented and continues to misrepresent his credentials.
  • Fact: STIC (the Southern Tier Independence Living Center), the provider likely to be awarded the contract and give the work to Feeney and his people, has been fully informed of Feeney’s past and present misrepresentations.
  • Fact: STIC and the New York State Department of Health have been informed that Feeney is under contract with the Fort Ann Central School District in New York’s Washington County to work with children (children!) with disabilities , where he is again misrepresenting himself in the process. Fort Ann has been informed as well and has continued working with Feeney; so much for putting the children first.
  • Fact: If Feeney is part of the contract he will be getting paid in taxpayer dollars, Medicaid dollars which means your money and mine will be paying a dishonest individual.

If New York State enters into any contract which allows Feeney to be part of the Statewide Neurobehavioral Project, an entity that wields enormous power over the lives of survivors of brain injury and their families as well as those who provide services to them, then New York and STIC are making it clear they have no respect for people with brain injuries. Why on earth should those of us who live with brain injuries have to deal with someone who lies about who they are? Someone who is unqualified?

And what was the dysfunctional thinking and the behind the scenes backslapping that went on that led to the decision to contract with someone everyone knows is a fraud? What did not go on behind the scenes was any real concern for those of us who live with brain injuries, our loved ones, and the honest healthcare providers that do give a damn. What did not go on was any respect whatsoever for the hard-earned taxpayer dollars that will pay Feeney and his crew.

Back to what  will take place should Feeney and his people be involved in the contract.

  • Letters will be written to the editors of all daily newspapers in New York State and neighboring states detailing the actions of the State and Feeney and STIC.
  • Letters will be sent out to a wide array of State and Federal officials, including President Obama, Healthcare Secretary Sibelius, as well as various members of law enforcement given that historically Feeney has interacted with the judicial system again misrepresenting himself in the process.
  • Last, but by no means least, letters will be sent to CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), the Federal Agency the oversees the spending of Medicaid and Medicare dollars in all states, and an agency that will not be pleased to here New York has knowingly entered into a contract with someone they know is misrepresenting his credentials.

The ball is in the court of the State and STIC. We’ll see what happens.


Feeney Facts Plain and Simple

It is  amazing how stone cold facts sometimes get a bit foggy,  or so some would hope. So, I thought I’d lift the fog a bit.

Fact: Timothy J. Feeney continues to say he has a valid PhD and a valid Masters Degree when he doesn’t.

Fact: The Southern Tier Independence Center in Binghamton New York may well get the contract from the New York State Department of Health to be the Statewide Neurobehavioral Project for New York’s Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver.

Fact: All indications are Southern Tier has every intention of giving the work, once again because they did it before, to Feeney and his team. 

Fact: The New York State Department of Health and the Southern Tier Independence Center are fully aware of  Feeney’s bogus degrees and both parties have received communication from brain injury survivors, family members and, in some cases, providers, asking to be protected from having Feeney and his company in their lives. Some providers have said they will stop providing services if Feeney returns.

Fact: If the Southern Tier Independence Center gets the contract and gives work to Feeney and the state doesn’t step up and stop this from happening that means that the Southern Tier Independence Center and the NY State DOH are okay with a dishonest and unqualified individual impacting the lives of the 2700 or so brain injury survivors on the waiver, their families, and the dozens of honorable healthcare providers trying to provide waiver services.

Fact: If the last Fact were to happen, it would mean Southern Tier and the State are not putting the survivors, their families, and the providers first.  And, by the way, it would mean both parties are sticking  it to the taxpayers because it is taxpayer dollars that would foot the bill, and taxpayers deserve honesty too.

Fact: The Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition, whose membership will soon be larger than that of the prestigious Brain Injury Association of NY State, is paying close attention, which is fairly relevant since the coalition was founded by brain injury survivors and their loved ones, they very people all the aforementioned parties say they care about.