Restore Dignity & Respect to Services sign now

If you have nothing to hold on to, and no one is standing by your side that really should be, how would you feel?

A mentally disabled person (hereafter named "consumer") is within a struggle that has been counterproductive to all tax payers, and disheartening to ones of low income and disability status, for four years now. In this issue it will be clearly noted that a "consumer" within the low income and disability category is not being treated with equal human rights, equal civil rights, equal disability rights, nor with equal access to opportunities to better living within her community, County, and State. There appears to be no effort with involved agencies of treating the "consumer" with respect or dignity, in which her experiences are also riddled by the circumstances of agencies of human services kicking her when she is down - just because it appears that they can do so and get away with it.

It appears the struggles of the "consumer" in need of this petition are of what no one should ever wish them to be...an attempt to maintain wellness against an agenda of involved agencies to corruptively use and hold "power" over the 'powerless'. More so, it is devastating and demoralizing that she must attempt to stand strong against those who should be educated to know better than attempt to degrade her well-being. Opposition and resistance to suppress and silence her and concerned others with abuse and retaliation are forefront and very rigid. County and State organizations in Upstate New York have refused to make her living conditions safe, warm, and healthy. They have refused her equal opportunity mental health services. Her efforts to gain healthy services with compassion and empathy meet with little to no success.

The "consumer" has to keep re-writing and re-submitting her concerns and issues, and this is because she is facing opposition that her experiences happened. Yet the service denials and the issues in place support her experiences. It is always her hope to move past the issues and move towards resolution and the ability to gain needed eligible services. But the involved agencies are consistently manipulating efforts to displacement of the issues and concerns, and leaving her in a unneccessary position of defense. It is questionable why she has to keep re-submitting the experiences to have her complaints and concerns heard and addressed. It is unfortunate that she has to do so, but it is not her failing or flaw for having to do so.

The most important focus in this issue is that agencies in opposition to this "consumer" are using ill-mannerisms and mistreatments to coerce the "consumer" into a state of being unwell. It was once said by an involved agency that the County mission is to incite consumers to need more services, or less services. Somewhere along the line it was missed that inciting a consumer to need more services does not mean that an agency should mistreat the individual until their wellness is broken. It is with unethical conclusions that such agencies would then try to incite illness to become in jeopardy of hospitalization, when at no time in an incident is it necessary or needed. Because this "consumer" still remains without need of hospitalization and remains unbroken by such tactics, the implied threat of such an insitutional placement, by force, tears apart any shred that the system in place has hope. We applaud this "consumer" for standing strong, despite the force, coercion, and intimidations in place by involved human service and mental health State and County agencies to make her unwell to suit their negative perpectives and agendas of the "consumer".

We are trying to make an effort to make even the smallest change towards people who have unfortunate disabilities, and who cannot live warm, safe, and dry without assistance from Federal, State, and County agencies. Our voices must be heard. Not only do we need your attention in this issue, this individual desperately needs your attention also - and so do many others living quietly in these less than healthy circumstances. Lock-out of services has been tolerated and deemed appropriate for this one individual for far too long. The funding for these State and County agencies are coming from all our tax dollars, and federal funding is involved in parts of this issue. Agencies involved are seriously mistreating this "consumer", and funding, upon their personal biases, discretions, and prejudices to do so.

The issues presented to you are not new, but they are of extreme examples of what those of 'power' attempt to do to those assigned as 'powerless'. The mountainous mess of the issues involved is a prime example that offices involved are not supportive of their missions, of which funding is used to maintain. This issue is a prime example of a mass system failing in Upstate NY. The answer isn't to reduce funding. The answer lies in removing agency persons who are not of proper humane functioning, and replace those persons with ones more empathetic and compassionate to their mission. The answer lies in a clearing-house effort to change the agencies involved. The answer lies in hearing this "consumer" fully, and responding with affective investigations to her concerns.

To stamp a proverbial foot of 'power' over disabled persons is far more disabling to any office, political or otherwise, than to do so over people more able to protect themselves. Therefore, this repression of the complaints of what is happening to this person is very immoral and unethical, and it needs your dire attention. It needs more than a silent direction for the involved offices to address the issues.

We are petitioning to support the rights of a person with mental disabilities, of which such disabilities are of heavy impact. No person with disabilities should carry such burdens without compassion, nor carry additional burdens of stigma and discrimination by those who cannot or will not tolerate differences. This person already has written to your office numerous times, as has her friend. Family recently sent a letter to your office. Pleas are sent to your office, and eyes are focused on your office to see what efforts will be taken to resolve the issues.

Therefore, this petition is of expectation that an unbiased investigation begin to assure there will be no further misguided use of taxpayer funds, or abuse of the rights of this disabled and low income "consumer". This petition is with expectation that your office protects this "consumer", in great lengths. It is with greatest concern that we request that a person of your office will be present within the requested up-coming meeting of the OMH State person wanting to directly have a face-to-face encounter with this "consumer". This petition is with highest moral and ethical expectation that your office does not allow or tolerate such agencies, State and County, to retaliate against this "consumer" of complaint with continued threats, coercions, and intimidations.

Your office has been provided a significant amount of information of the history of these issues by the "consumer" and concerned others. Though we do not wish to re-submit this information, we are providing a brief outline of the issues involved.


This information is as follows:

Because of this person's disabilities, home services become necessary when in times of need. The "consumer" was in need of Supportive Case Management (SCM), as she had to relocate to very unfamiliar surroundings and living conditions of a new county, and services she has need of could only be obtained through SCM. In the relocation, the "consumer" had also found the means to detach from unhealthy personal relationships. Such individuals were taking advantage of her lack of knowledge of social norms. Her social circle, though already very limited, became very isolated. SCM was to be in place short-term, due to these drastic changes and the effects upon her, as it was never needed prior. The "consumer" prefers a chosen lifestyle of living quietly, reclusively and privately, with no harm to anyone nor herself. She does not abuse anyone or any service or thing. She only asks for help when in time of dire need, and that request usually comes when she cannot manage situations without asking for aid.

She is an extraordinary woman living in a country setting, and she takes great value in being the best person she can be. She is straight-forward, blunt, and very intelligent, and this is what angers and irritates the agencies involved of conflict. She is also polite, respectful, and she can identify the core issues of a problem with keen accuracy. This is the seed reason why these agencies oppose her, and would like to take great liberty to intimidate her into silence. Her dis-abilities cripple her, but her abilities don't allow her to be a passive-submissive person. Her chronic traumatic history has incited her to be unopen to victimization, abuse and mistreatments. Ergo, the battle of agency 'power' attempting to make her prostrate herself to a submissively 'powerless' existence.

In brevity, the issues began when an agency individual threatened to put the "consumer" in an institution because she acted upon her personal wishes of independency to own her own home. The agency person of threat attemped to use her agency position to revoke other assistance, and her abiltiy to do so with releases was in turn revoked by the "consumer". Services, which were otherwise prior quite cordial and successful, were abruptly closed under false notations and with retaliation by the revocation of releases. The person filed a complaint, which was not filed properly by the offending agency, and the "consumer" received swift retaliation and further abuses by this agency, it's funding sources, as well as County agencies parallel and of exposure to it and it's employees. The Administrator of the agency stated, "I answer to no one, just like the President of the United States", and further stated he would not promise retaliation would not occur following the complaint. He, and others of the agency and of complaint, biased boards, other agencies and all other inquiring persons with a false perspective of the issues in order to alleviate their accountabilities.

In trying to reapply for services closed without cause and reason, an employee of the agency came to the "consumer's" home for an intake. The intake worker yelled at the "consumer"and her guest and became quite verbally abusive. The "consumer" was told she would never get the services of this agency, and was told she was "a mental case", "a scumbag", "belligerent", "mentally unstable", "incompetent", "nasty", and "difficult". The intake worker used information known by her as to what she could state to deny this "consumer" services, and all other agency persons to follow have followed suit. She has been stigmatized, singled out, and discriminated against.

When calling a local crisis line in time of need, the "consumer" was abruptly told to "do the County a favor". She was told to sell her home and move out of the County. She was told her complaints and issues were being thrown in the garbage upon receipt, and she will not get the resolution she is looking for. The Director of Community Services has, reportedly, directed call-lines to refuse her calls, and the "consumer" was directed to call her instead. Confidentiality of call-lines was violated, and information was misrepresented of the anonymous calls.

These issues were approached to the St. Lawrence County Community Services Board Director, and the St. Lawrence County Community Services Mental Health Subcommittee, and AMI of St. Lawrence County (NAMI), with no working or unbiased demeanor to resolve these issues. When approaching an AMI individual about concerns, received were very negative responses of attack, and no assistance was offered. Three members of the Board of Legislators were contacted, one of whom is the Legislator for the town the "consumer" lives in, and one of whom is Chair. No response was forthcoming.

The "consumer" was asked to briefly submit to County agency persons some of her traumatic history. That history was used against her best interest. The "consumer" received a book series of "Child Called It", and was told to write a book to gain her own funds. Needless to say, the first page read of the series incited panic attacks due to previous chronic traumatic abuses.

The "consumer" was treated differently and singled out by SPOA (Single Point of Access) when filing a re-application for services, and her application was set aside for over 4 months with no response. She was told to withdraw the application alleging she would not get services. SPOA was biased by the complaints filed, and by the persons the complaints were filed against. After two years of struggling with SPOA to regain services, the "consumer" received case management services, in name only, by an individual involved and named in the complaint issues. The case manager assigned was the SPOA Coordinator - Mental Health Services Coordinator, and she was the source of the non-submission of the application.

The case manager asked to close case management in the first home visit and thereafter. The "consumer" went without heat for about a month and a half in a cold season. The case manager told her to turn her heat down and buy blankets, rather than finding fuel resources. The "consumer" was not with option of additional food aid, as the case manager responded to such a need in email with "I AM TIRED.............". The identity of the "consumer" was stolen, and the case manager refused advocacy. This advocacy was refused because the case manager said someone probably took the "consumer's" complaint out of OMH's garbage and used it, so it was said to be the "consumer's" fault. The case manager refused advocacy with other service needs, such as with another agency called Association for Neighborhood Rehabilitation. Without releases, the case manager divulged information to other agency and private persons of services that did involve her, as well as those she should have known no information of. The case manager placed blame on the "consumer" for the failings of her service provision, and within her position in SPOA she has biased the committee to view the "consumer" to be unable to be satisfied. The case manager said she did the best she could, though all communications with the "consumer" included hostility and retaliation. The "consumer" rightly complaining of such mistreatment is faced with collective agency perspective that she is too difficult to provide services for, though no consumer should experience such negative and harmful mistreatments. The case manager listed meetings of conflicts as "home visits", which may have been billed under fraudulent terms to Medicaid. The case manager used complaint information and history to support her perspectives, though the information was gained without release and in biased and retalitive form.

The SPOA Coordinator has clearly used her position to incur detriment to this "consumer". She has used her standing with agency peers to affect determinations, and to insure that services would be denied to this "consumer". This SPOA Coordinator has abused her position, and should be removed from her position.

At times resolutions were offered, though they were not fulfilled. Overall, meetings established nothing other than unprofessional board-room behaviors being used in the "consumer's" home, with verbal communications that have been unethical and discompassionate. The County Administrator stated in one such meeting that he wanted the "consumer" "out of the system". More so, the County Administrator denied any further meetings, and modified reasonable accommodations of meetings were denied. The same agency individual put the County Attorney in place.

The results of these issues have come to be a great cost to the taxpayers, as it has costed taxpayers more based upon the State and County fight against assisting the "consumer", than it would have cost to assist her properly to begin with. OMH failed to do proper investigations, as immediately the "consumer" was noted as the problem by OMH representatives. Implied threat of a lawsuit was made by an OMH representative, if public notice of the issues was made. This OMH representative implied that the "consumer" was a "disgruntled mentally ill individual".

Confidentiality has been violated at several points, which appears to be of no concern to agencies this was reported to. It clearly appears there is no checks and balances in the system occurring, and agencies are free to behave as they wish, with funding used by them upon their personal discretions.

A friend tried to obtain a list of services from the St. Lawrence County Community Services Board Director, also serviing as SPOA Director. With the filing of FOIL requests, a list of agencies was received after a struggle of several FOIL requests to obtain it. With the list, the friend was referred by this Director to mental health counseling services, which is of a sarcastic mode of correspondence. It appears a Freedom of Information Act paperwork may need to be filed for very simple requests.

Legal Aid Society was involved in the issues for approximately 19 months. Several of the months were with the "consumer" denied communications with the staff attorney. In making a call to the office over-seeing, NYS Office of Advocate for Persons with Disabilities, CQCAPD, the case was closed immediately. Though this is obvious retaliation, the staff attorney and those of complaint procedure made efforts to parallel their views of the "consumer" with those of the agencies involved. With LAS, the "consumer" faced similar character slurs, and factors of her disabilities were denied of existence. LAS conclusions defied DSM IV information, and other known medical information of the "consumer's" disabilities. The Deputy Director consistently appeared to be adversarial to the "consumer", and communications were honed to quality and mannerims issues. Complaints the "consumer" placed were displaced, and which left the staff attorney and Deputy Director freedom to defamate the "consumer's" character with unsupported information. The Deputy Director placed challenge of the "consumer's" disabilitiy into focus, though their agency assisted in the "consumer" being found disabled by SSI in history. The result was LAS requesting inappropriate information to deny access to their legal services. The LAS staff requested for the "consumer" to have her therapist supply information of why friends and family could not meet her mental health needs for case management services, regardless that the therapist was a treating source for those involved and would ethically and legally be bound by restrictions to not provide information of any kind about such individuals. As well, such a request violates HIPAA regulations. LAS also requested that the therapist supply them with a year's psychotherapy notes, "session notes", regardless that this also violates HIPAA regulations. The "session notes" were named as "treatment records" in LAS correspondence. With resistance to the two requests, the "consumer" was told she was angry and adversarial and LAS decided to permanently deny her legal services in case management issues. This denial of legal services, which is the only legal service she has accessible to her, also excludes her from PAMI and PAIR services. CQCAPD's biased investigations have supported LAS determinations. Presently they are with another appeal, but the investigation already has been biased once again. Their support of LAS is again inevitable, as they are protecting their own.

An OMH representative recently stated to the "consumer's" advocate that something has to be done about the "consumer's" letter writing. The "consumer" writes with articulation, and she does very well to describe what isn't working in her experiences with involved agencies. She is clear, concise, and detailed. This is not a mental-health issue or factor of her disability. It is a self-empowerment and self-advocacy that the same agencies claim to encourage. However, in this case it appears the OMH representative does not want the "consumer" encouraged in these terms.

The OMH representative also stated that this is going to come to an end, one way or another. He stated that someone could say that the "consumer's" life is in jeopardy, and that she may be a harm to herself and needing hospitalization. When the advocate asked if that was a threat, he stated no - but stated someone could come to that conclusion. She noted to him that such a statement was a threat, and she stated she was marking it in her file. He stated he expected as such from an advocate. The "consumer" is asked not to report this to OMH or your office, though she wants it noted. We can state as such in this petition. Your office was not made known of the threat, except in the "consumer's" last letter to you that the issues were coming full circle. It began with a threat, and it is now back to it.

This OMH representative wants a face-to-face meeting with the "consumer". He wants a list of all needs, mental health and otherwise - though the SCM needs has been submitted countless times. It is very highly advised that someone from your office be present at the meeting he is requesting. He has requested two persons to be there, but we would like your office to keep in mind one thing - this isn't suppose to be about what any involved agency wants and demands. This is suppose to be about helping the "consumer".

In any home meeting, the "consumer" should be comfortable with the incoming visitors. No comfort can be achieved with a meeting embedded with a noted or implied threat. No person, disabled or otherwise, would welcome an intrusion in their home. No person would be unrestrained in a meeting in which the meeting would involve a person using mannerisms of intimidation or implied threat. No person, disabled or otherwise, would welcome an order or direction of who will be in their home in unison with incoming visitors, nor have an incoming visitor assign who will or will not be in their home. It will be no different for this "consumer", and demanding otherwise echoes concerns of disrespect, lack of dignity, and lack of professional reason or agenda for meetings to take place. Yet this "consumer" is still attempting to maximize her abilities and self-empowerment to focus on what her concerns are, and to hope for something positive to occur.


Conclusion:
Who and what this "consumer" is versus who and what the collective agency views want her to be has developed into a blockage and resistance to meet her needs and address her concerns. She is to become who she is created to be before any contacted worker, politician, or other State and County employee deals with her. The agenda thus is not of protection of her basic human rights, nor as rights she holds as an American constituent with disabilities. Formed opinions and personal views by State and County employees have been communicated amongst each other unrestricted by HIPAA laws and releases of consent. Information shared very freely has formed a solid base of defiant resistance to deal with her in any manner. This method of operation has proven to be manipulative and discombobulating to oppose her positive efforts in the situations she is within.

The grand opinion manifested has therefore taken away her rights, regardless of who she is. So-called "difficult" consumers receive unlimited services all the time, yet she does not. Personal views and opinions appear to be misconstrued as professional opinions and/or pieces of information of her diagnoses. Instances of character-labeling by the State and County agencies are in terms of degradation. Clearly personal views of agency workers are riddled in the issues, yet these views are accepted as professional pieces of information. There appears to be a broad view of the low-income and disabled focused upon the "consumer" at this point.

This "consumer" is repeatedly pressed to prove that she is disabled, though it was proven already on a federal level that she is. She was requested, twice, to divulge abuses and tragedies that have wrought her life with pain and terror to appeal for SCM help, and thereafter information of those abuses were used against her favor within inhumane communications and conditions. Violations of her personal being have remained consistent and unrelenting, and are appearing to be of malice and forethought. Personal views (though unprofessional) are discussed so freely amongst these involved agencies, and are expressed about her, whether false or otherwise, without proper releases of information and authorization to do so. When she attempts to refute the false information, she is dismissed to the view that she is "rehashing" the issues inappropriately. She is in a catch-22, and she is demeaned no matter what she says or does.

There is in place a very high level of societal resentment towards low-income people on the system in this North Country area, and it is always growing in small increments. Though education should be in place for the agencies to know better, she was and is being treated in terms of separation and discrimination from the average whole of the County and State service providers. Not only are the disabled and low income treated poorly in the usual process of these agencies' operations, but she has become an exception to that accepted rule of behavior, with discrimination and stigmatization. She is being treated worse than others applying for services, who already endure less dignity and respect simply because they are applying.

Agencies are finding reasons not to allow her access to their services. Some services are held out of her reach, because the agencies were involved in or were made known of the issues. This has occurred because of pre-knowledge by means of breaches of confidentiality, and a will to get along with agency peers. Clearly sides have been delegated, and she is the opposition. Bullies have gathered their wagons to isolate this "consumer" to their unmerciful hurtful actions. Can your office find any reason why this should be tolerable? Such incidents should not be occurring outside of a school-yard, let alone in State operated agencies under the Governor's jurisdiction.

No protection has come forward, legal or otherwise. This is regardless of the involved lack of dignity, respect, and basic human rights. No local advocate will protect and/or defend her. More so, it appears that the County and State are receiving the legal advocacy, and she is left to face this alone and unprotected. Outside advocates have been fearful that she would be, again, threatened with institutionalization for her strong efforts of advocacy. This has again come to fruition with the OMH representative. This "consumer" has often been told she has remained polite and respectful in all of her communications, though none other could have done so in the same circumstances themselves.

It is quite noted that this "consumer" has used objective documented and internet information in her letters. It is clearly noted that she has a meticulous paper trail of communications to support her complaints and concerns. In response, she has received emotional and subjective responses. One would expect shoes to be on the other feet.

Perhaps she is smarter than the agencies involved want her to be, and perhaps she is making observations they do not wish to have publicly made known. Perhaps she is pointing out flaws and funding issues the agencies involved wish to hide. But even if she has done all of this, and she is smarter than they wish her to be, none of this rests at her feet for accountability. There does not seem to be a consideration of the possibility that the agencies involved are supplying information that they know is acceptable - and that they know will alleviate them from ethical and moral accountabilities. The information supplied by involved agencies is clearly biased, and it serves to protect themselves from their wrong-doings. The agencies involved have done wrongs, and pointed fingers should not be to who makes observations of their transgressions.

The involved agencies reverting to their attornies or the County Attorney to contact her with her initial complaints is unethical. This is a highly unusual method of procedures and behaviors of the involved agencies toward an individual in need, and it is an additional expense the taxpayers are paying for.

The "consumer" has had need to defend herself, in her home and otherwise, with all she knows and has learned. The negative views of this "consumer" should not be in place to begin with. When will investigating offices understand that truth? No matter how the "consumer" is personally viewed, she should be able to receive any and all services she is eligible to receive, based on availability of funding. She should be able to file any complaint, without threat, further abuse and mistreatment, and retaliation.

OMH needs to re-evaluate the reasons and motives of their requested meeting with the "consumer". If it is insisted it is to be one of confrontation, the meeting will fail. Forced institutionalization should not be an overcasted element of the meeting, nor the implication that if the OMH agenda fails then the "consumer" will be placed in a hospital. If the agenda does not reflect the concerns and complaints in a positive and healthy approach for resolution, it is the failing of OMH.

CQCAPD needs to be accountable for their determinations that have allowed Legal Aid Society to permanently deny services to this "consumer", and of which personal agendas to single out this "consumer" were in place to displace issues to adversarial issues. Legal Aid Society ignored complaints of quality and mannerism issues, and replaced the complaints with what they decided they would allow. This negated the "consumer's" right to complaint, and it led to the complaint being ignored. CQCAPD's upcoming decision needs to be reviewed by your office, as no agency should be permanently denying a consumer their services...especially as retaliation due to filed complaints. Legal Aid Society's requests absolutely defied the HIPAA regulations, and any decision that is in favor of Legal Aid Society is one of protecting the agency and of ignoring regulations and missions.

We, the undersigned, press that this issue is meticulously investigated and followed to its conclusion personally by your office. We, the undersigned, also request that not only normal services become available to this individual, but that changes are implemented within the involved agencies. These changes necessitate those involve both personnel involved and complaint procedures being modfied. We, the undersigned, direly request that any meeting of OMH representatives with the "consumer" be accompanied in the presence with a representative of your office.

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Alana JarvisBy:
People and OrganizationsIn:
Petition target:
Governor Eliot Spitzer

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