Dear Reader, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a Liberal
or Conservative, there comes a time when you need to step back from the fray
and ask yourself: Is every position my political interests support correct or
fair? Sometimes we need to consider more than just ourselves, or the prevailing winds that blow.
As you know the Governor of the State of New York is taking aim at
Medicaid abuse and he should. Too many people are stealing money from the
system and abusing it when they shouldn’t. I personally have a working knowledge
of Medicaid and what it looks for when it does lend assistance. My mom is at
that fragile age where she will at some point need assistance once her money is
used up for herself in terms of medical costs. My sisters and I all feel that
we should spend down her money first for her medical needs and then when there
is no more, the state will step in. This is what it should be and we should all
try to be honest in that regard. Too many wealthy people are cheating the
system and trying to hide the family money for themselves and taking the
attitude of “Let the State pay for it.”
However, there is a group of people out there who have no real means
of support except their Medicaid monies that flow generously from the State.
Generous in terms that it does come from the State no matter how much it is.
Unfortunately to sell newspapers: sometimes the need to ‘investigate’
and find something to hook onto to will do the trick. Medicaid fraud is a
popular topic and anyone guilty or not is targeted. My daughter’s agency of
which I sit on the board of directors, gets a Medicaid budget and we as board
members along with the administration staff work very hard to make those
dollars go far. We are a not for profit agency and so we spend every dime
carefully and with purpose.
Our dedicated and loving staff has not received an increase in a
while and odes not even get parity with the State workers doing the same thing
in the same field!
But due to shoddy reporting and errant facts, newspapers like the NY
Times sees fit to misrepresent the facts and wrap up everyone in the same
package of abuse. They, the State of New York seeks to slash 6% of the Medicaid
budget that goes to all not for profit agencies like AHRC Suffolk Chapter! I
wrote this letter to make the Governor, Andrew Cuomo aware of how many of us
feel and want to bring it to your attention too.
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Honorable Governor Cuomo:
The Justice Center for Protection of People with Special Needs,
needs to investigate the intentions and tone of the State of New York and your
“For too long our state has been inconsistent in how it addressed
incidents of abuse against people with special needs, lacking any real
consistent standards for tracking and investigating complaints or punishing
those who commit abuse and neglect.”
The above quote is from your temporary website under the name of:
Sir, if it is imperative for you to state that: “it is imperative
that state government meet its obligation to protect and serve all New Yorkers”
then you need to understand the impact that you will personally have on those
you seek to protect.
To carve out 6% of the budget for Medicaid for those most fragile
and most vulnerable to such draconian cuts is mean spirited, ill conceived and
most cruel and abusive to an agency like NYSARC’s AHRC Suffolk Chapter.
As a father of an adult child with developmental disabilities all
her life, a child who is now a target for your slashing, and I as a board
member of the same Suffolk Chapter, find it disheartening that you would do
such a thing! If you came to our agency, or any of our sister agencies in the
NYSARC brand, you would understand better what that 6% means. If you took the
time to see how we spend the Medicaid monies the State of New York has so
generously provided for our services and programs, how little is spent on
salaries and administration the budget we work under allows, you sir, would be
impressed. This I assure you, you would have to then reconsider your position
of slashing 6% of that meager budget. We can’t even reward our people with cost
of living raises, nor can we afford parity with the NYS agencies that treat the
same population! Time and again our Executive directors have refused pay raises
because their staff hasn’t gotten one. Time and again, in lieu of raises we
needed as a collective board find ways to reward staff that is dedicated,
loving and unwilling to jump ship because they believe in our mission!
I fully understand your position about Medicaid abuse, and
appreciate your need to do what you need to do. But surely Sir, the abuse you
speak of and seek to rightfully end, is NOT taking place in our agencies, is
NOT practiced by our staff and board who are mostly parents and taxpayers who
I suspect that you have taken a road of principles without thinking
of those you hurt. The publicity of the news media was not honest in its
reporting, nor accurate or honest in its conclusions, and certainly NEVER came
to Suffolk to look for a way to sell their newspapers.
I see my daughter and I work hard to provide her with all she needs
as a father. I can never provide her with an education, or a wedding to dance
with her like other fathers can, I can only take my life and dedicate like
thousands of other fathers who are in the same boat, saddened by life’s breaks,
blaming no one and only asking for the help needed to make my daughter Ellen
have a somewhat happy existence, free of fear and pain but having some meaning.
My wife and I go to sleep at night and are able to rest because of
Suffolk Chapter’s efforts. As a board member, I seek to make sure as a
responsible board member that we do all we can to insure no amount of money is
ever wasted and that we hire only the best possible talent we can find. To see
that we would be ‘rewarded’ by the State of New York and the honorable Governor
with this slap in the face, this cruel response to my daughter for all our
efforts as parents and board members, just makes me want to find a darker place
than I am in now and cry.
Please reconsider your views here, understand what it is you are
doing by this measure, and help me rather than hurt me or my wife and daughter.
Thank you if you even read this plea.
Joe Del Broccolo