What the Post-Standard Didn’t Tell You


What the Post-Standard did tell you yesterday was that–

Cuomo in Syracuse on Wednesday to explain his proposal to improve care for New Yorkers with special needs

Syracuse — Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in Syracuse Wednesday to promote his plan to create a new agency to address abuses among people with special needs in state care.

Cuomo, a Democrat in his second year, has proposed creating the “Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.” The center would have authority to track, investigate and prosecute abuse cases within the six state agencies that currently oversee care for disabled and developmentally disabled people.

Last year, there were more than 10,000 allegations of abuse against New Yorkers with special needs and disabilities in state operated, certified or licensed facilities and programs. Currently, the state’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities is trying to fire 200 workers for allegations of abuse.

Cuomo’s actions come after a series of stories in The New York Times that described lax care of clients and investigations of abuse within the state’s multi-layered care system for people with special needs.

Cuomo will explain his proposed changes at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Schine Student Center at Syracuse University.

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What the Post-Standard did not tell you is that Cuomo’s explanation is by invitation only, so don’t get all excited and think you actually can go and ask the Governor a question.  Why report the time and location and then not state that it’s a closed event?

The question I’d like to ask is whether CPEP will come under the jurisdiction of the new agency.  CPEP is the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program that is run by St. Joseph’s Hospital under the auspices of the NYS Office of Mental Health.  It is an horrific place in which abuses occur at least on a weekly basis, if not daily.  When you lock the door to a facility, you guarantee abuse.  The Office of Mental Health (OMH) has consistently failed to properly monitor CPEP.

On one occasion I got CPEP investigated and, in the process, learned that OMH knew there was a problem but wasn’t doing any follow-up.  CPEP “serves” about 8,000 people a year, and the Post-Standard has never been willing to investigate and report on this awesomely bad facility.

Does anybody think that the Post-Standard, which most certainly has been invited to Governor Cuomo’s presentation, is going to ask if CPEP will be covered by the new agency?

Yeah, right.  CPEP only affects 8,000 citizens who are marginalized, i.e., not the Post-Standard’s demographic, so why bother?

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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