Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition
We are a disability rights advocacy-watchdog group dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals with brain injury disabilities, their families and providers, by working to prevent abuses of those rights through advocacy, research, education, and action.
About Brain Injuries:
According to the United States Department of Health’s (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “An estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually.” In addition, the CDC points out:
* TBI’s kill 52,000 people every year.
* 275,000 are hospitalized every year
* Direct medical costs and indirect costs of TBI, such as lost productivity, totaled an estimated $60 billion in the United States in 2000.
* 1.36 million, nearly 80%, of individuals who suffer a brain injury are treated and released from an emergency department.
* Every 13 seconds an individual sustains a Traumatic Brain Injury.
* TBI is a contributing factor to nearly one third (30.5%) of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
Some of KAC’s accomplishments to date:
- NY STATE DOH OFFICIAL MISREPRESENTS CREDENTIALS: In 2008 KAC discovered and revealed that a contract-employee with New York State Department of Health (who’d been given nearly total control over the state’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Waiver (a Medicaid program meant to return survivors to the community and keep TBI survivors living in the community)) had been grossly misrepresenting his educational credentials. The PhD and Master’s Degree this individual claimed to have were in fact awarded to him through a diploma mill located off the coast of Australia. (Documentation available on request). It took several years of relentless pressure, solely from KAC, before the state’s DOH cut ties with this person.
- NY STATE DOH LEAVES WAIVER COMPLAINTS UNANSWERED: KAC uncovered the fact that since the NY State TBI Waiver began in 1995, waiver participants and others who filed waiver-related complaints were never informed by the state’s DOH of their complaint outcomes. It took months of relentless pressure, again from KAC only, before the DOH agreed to change its policy and inform complainants of the outcome of their complaints.
- NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED: KAC was the first voice in the New York State brain-injury arena to draw attention to the fact the state does not require TBI Waiver providers to have any measurable knowledge of the brain. Moreover, as a result of information gleaned from Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests, KAC established that none of the DOH staff (including contract staff) overseeing and running the waiver are required to have any knowledge of the brain, and brain injury.
A brief history of KAC’s beginnings
KAC co-founder Peter S. Kahrmann lives with a brain injury disability. He was held up and shot in the head in 1984 at point blank range. The bullet remains lodged in the frontal lobe of his brain.
Mr. Kahrmann began forming the coalition after learning the person with the most decision-making power in the state’s brain-injury waiver program was misrepresenting his education credentials. At the time, Mr. Kahrmann on the Brain Injury Association of New York State’s (BIANYS) board of directors. When leadership BIANYS at the time decided it would remain silent, Mr. Kahrmann resigned from the board.
KAC is currently in the process of becoming a New York State 501(c)3 not-for-profit company.
Mr. Kahrmann is no stranger to civil rights advocacy. His family’s minister, the Reverend Wilbur O. Daniel of the Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church in Pearl River, New York, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mr. Kahrmann is a co-found and former board member of the New York City chapter of Victims for Victims and chaired their Victims Advocacy Committee. He is a former member of NYSILC (New York State Independent Living Council).