Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published May 28, 2014 at 12:49 PM | Page modified May 28, 2014 at 5:10 PM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Disabled man is killed; estate billed nearly $12M

Two years after a 33-year-old mentally disabled man died at a state institution in Queens, and one year after his sister filed a lawsuit accusing the staff of killing him, New York officials have sent her an $11.67 million bill.


Associated Press

advertising

ALBANY, N.Y. —

Two years after a 33-year-old mentally disabled man died at a state institution in Queens, and one year after his sister filed a lawsuit accusing the staff of killing him, New York officials have sent her an $11.67 million bill.

The claim against Rasheen Rose's estate cited his total Medicaid assistance from Aug. 6, 2002, through Aug. 6, 2012, the day he died.

A spokeswoman for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, which runs the center, said Wednesday officials were following federal Medicaid obligations in seeking reimbursement.

"Not doing so would be a violation and could put federal Medicaid funding at risk," spokeswoman Jennifer O'Sullivan said.

Medicaid, a state and federal program for the poor, doesn't typically demand reimbursement.

But Ilann Maazel, an attorney who has filed lawsuits against the state after others died in state care, said other claim notices recently have been sent to families suing.

"This is something new we're seeing ... and it's problematic," he said Wednesday.

Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, an advocate for the disabled whose adult son gets state-funded residential care, called it "retaliation" and "an outrage" to send the bill to someone who lost a loved one from abusive care. "They're going to punish these people because they brought it to view of justice," he said.

The New York medical examiner concluded Rose's death was a homicide and that he "became unresponsive" while being restrained at Fineson Developmental Center. The Queens district attorney's office said it wasn't notified about the death until that homicide ruling was made four months later. Investigators found no criminal conduct but have left the case open, spokesman Kevin Ryan said.

Shaneice Luke, 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 and failure by supervisors and the state to address that or to train staff properly.

"Rasheen Rose did not receive care remotely associated with the amount of money collected by OPWDD for Rasheen Rose over the 10-year period," attorney Aaron DePass replied to the state agency on Luke's behalf. Because he was actually killed by his supposed caregivers, "it is clear that the quality of care he received does not warrant any payment for services whatsoever," he wrote.

In federal court papers, all seven staff named in the lawsuit denied any wrongdoing, saying they acted within their professional judgment. The state attorney general and private lawyers are defending them.

Two years ago, a congressional oversight committee reported that New York's residential centers for the developmentally disabled like Fineson, which have largely emptied in an ongoing shift to community-based programs and group homes, cost Medicaid about $1.9 million a year for each patient.

The Cuomo administration last year announced plans to close four developmental centers over four years, including Fineson in 2017.



Free 4-week trial, then $99 a year for unlimited seattletimes.com access. Try it now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►