Community Board 4
September 4, 1998
Re: HS Systems, 320-322 West 45th Street
Dear Deputy Mayor Segarra:
Manhattan Community Board No. 4 has just learned from the press that the contract for HS Systems has been extended for one year, therefore the RFP will not be issued until September 30, 1999. HRA was quoted as saying that this "extra" time will help HS Systems address the community’s concerns. Needless to say, these concerns have been expressed for many years without redress. The director has failed to attend any Community Board No. 4 meetings. Their lawyer has sent us a threatening letter which accuses us of libel and a "NIMBY" attitude after our last resolution pointed out the noise, litter, public urination, and failure to light the facility at night, which encourages illicit activities.
The superficial treatment of the welfare clients was detailed in a New York Times article. HS Systems determines whether persons are well enough to participate in workfare. They often say that clients are capable of limited employment without specifying what the limitations are. One person with asthma was assigned to street cleaning activity which exacerbated the condition. One died of a heart attack.
HS Systems serves a population from the five boroughs, seeing up to 750 patients daily. At least three of the doctors left their previous jobs under a cloud. These clients are given a short shrift, and are often seen for a cursory five minute examination because too many are scheduled between 8:30 AM and 1:00 PM
The clients must line up at the back of the facility on 45th Street and use one freight elevator to get to the eighth floor, even though the entrance on 44th Street has two elevators and a lobby. This is an ill-conceived and shoddy operation costing the City six million dollars a year.
HS Systems not only dehumanizes their clients, but negatively impacts this residential community.
We suggest that HRA consider alternative methods of determining eligibility for workfare, for example, accepting documentation from clients’ physicians or utilizing city hospitals in the clients’ own boroughs.
cc: Hon. Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor
Hon. Franz Leichter, State Senator
Jennie Esterow, Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit
Elizabeth Benjamin, Legal Aid Society