The Associated Press reports that New York State’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is demanding $11.67 million from the sister of a mentally disabled man they cared for from 2002 until his death in 2012.
Reporter Michael Virtanan writes:
The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, which runs the center, declined to comment on why it’s asking to be repaid for care provided under Medicaid, a state and federal program for the poor that doesn’t typically demand reimbursement. Spokeswoman Jennifer O’Sullivan cited pending litigation.
The “litigation” in question is a wrongful death suit filed by the man’s sister:
Shaneice Luke, [Rasheen] Rose’s sister, is seeking unspecified punitive and other damages in a federal lawsuit. She alleges that at least three staff threw Rose to the ground and one sat on him, while other staff stood by. She also alleges a history of abuse at Fineson [Developmental Center] and failure by supervisors and the state to address that or to train staff properly.
For lack of expertise we set aside the question whether this demand is retaliation for the lawsuit, as Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg is quoted as saying, or some sort of legitimate cost recovery. Instead we focus solely on the reported cost of service. We note that $11.67 million expended over 10 years works out to $3,197 per day.
The rack rate for a Penthouse Suite at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, a decidedly better address than the Fineson Developmental Center (pictured here), is $1,799 per night plus $274.75 in taxes. Mr. Rose would have had to pay for room service and personal care, but he would have had $1,123 left over for that.
The rack rate for a 108-day world cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity is $86,980 (single occupancy) on Deck 7, or $805 per day. Services clearly exceed Medicaid in New York:
Your Cruise-Only Fare includes all beverages including fine wines, champagne, premium spirits and all non-alcoholic beverages such as bottled water, soft drinks and specialty coffees; gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; complimentary evening of specialty restaurant dining in Prego and at least once in Silk Road or The Sushi Bar (additional reservations or visits available for a modest fee); 24-hour room service; personal Penthouse Butler service, enrichment workshop classes and much more.
Even the 538 square foot Penthouse Suite with Vernadah, at $224,110 (single occupancy), is less expensive. It costs a maximum of $2,075 per day. 24-hour butler service is included, of course, with $1,122 per day left over. A more modestly priced stateroom for two would have provided for a full-time caregiver.