On August 6, 2012, a 33-year-old mentally disabled man, Rasheen Rose, died at a State Institution in New York . The death was ruled a homicide according to the New York Medical Examiner who concluded that Rose’s death was caused by being restrained at the Fineson Developmental Center, where Rose was living when he died, after he became unresponsive.
Rose’s sister, Shaneice Luke, brought a lawsuit in Federal Court seeking an undisclosed amount of punitive and other damages, and alleging that at least three (3) of the Fineson staff threw Rose to the ground, while one (1) sat on him and another stood by. The suit further alleges a history of abuse at the institution and failure by the supervisors to train staff properly or address the abuse.
It is not a new development that care centers for both the elderly and the disabled have been accused of abuse, failure to train staff properly, negligence, and the like as I have discussed on my website about Nursing Home Abuse . What makes this case interesting, however, is that after Luke filed her lawsuit, the State sent her a $ 11.67M bill for Medicaid assistance from August 6, 2002 through the day that Rose died on August 6, 2012.
The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) of New York, the organization that oversees and runs the facility, declined to comment on why it is asking for repayment under Medicaid. It appears, however, that others families who are suing under the same or similar circumstances are also receiving similar claim notices. The OPWDD is calling this problematic, and it has been deemed as Retaliation and an Outrage to send a bill to someone who has lost a loved one due to abusive care. It is being seen as a way to punish people who bring this type of behavior and abuse to the eyes of justice, I think, it also acts a deterrent to the filing of future lawsuits of this kind.