Saturday, November 18, 2017
What goes on near Creedmoor
Fully 70% of Creedmoor patients are now managed by the various nonprofit organizations operating on the Creedmoor grounds. These nonprofits have been absent from each of the three Creedmoor meetings, although their presence had been requested. They shield themselves from accountability, and tout HIPAA patient confidentiality laws to keep neighboring communities in the dark.
Surprisingly, there is no requirement that wandering patients take their daily medications and there is no behavioral code of conduct protocol conveyed to them. The general lack of accountability by the nonprofits is stunning. Their managers enter the facility gates in the morning and leave at night, rarely stepping foot outside of Creedmoor to see what their patients have wrought on nearby communities.
The aggressive panhandling is rampant. Unsuspecting pedestrians are accosted daily and disheveled individuals often follow them into a Dunkin’ Donuts or wait outside an ATM to demand money. Recently, a woman sitting at McDonald’s in Queens Village was assaulted by a Creedmoor resident. A middle-aged worker in Creedmoor was sucker-punched by a patient as she bent down to pick up a food tray. She is now recuperating with 3 steel rods in her neck.
Public defecation, substance abuse and other quality-of-life infractions are now commonplace in residential communities around Creedmoor. Unfortunately, the police are discouraged from enforcing certain laws now that Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have decriminalized some low-level infractions. Creedmoor officials acknowledge that well-meaning individuals should neither give money nor endure menacing shakedowns by patients who live rent-free, receive three meals per day including snacks, plus a weekly monetary stipend paid in part by the very same individuals that are being accosted daily.
Civic leaders who sought to identify why these problems have dramatically worsened over the past year were repeatedly told by Creedmoor administrators that nothing has changed. But recently, writer and former City Council candidate Dennis Saffran, who investigated Creedmoor for another story, revealed some interesting facts. It turns out that much has changed. Governor Andrew Cuomo prioritized deinstitutionalizing the mentally ill and moving them out of wards and into so-called “transitional housing.” To accomplish this, OMH simply rebranded its wards as “transitional housing” and redesignated inpatients as “outpatients” although their living arrangements never changed.