HSS to CB4 re: HS Systems 9/30/98

HS Systems
321 West 44th Street
New York, New York 10036
tel. 212.664.1590
fax. 212.664.0227

September 30, 1998

Ms. Pamela Frederick, Chair
Manhattan Community Board No. 4
330 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036

Dear Ms. Frederick:

I am writing to you in response to your letter to the Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services, dated September 4, 1998. While I cannot address HRA’s reasons for extending our current contract, I am concerned that you have chosen to perpetuate blatantly false statements, although initially proffered by certain news media, relating to a business and/or a process of which you have no direct knowledge.

With respect to the Workfare Program, many different means of determining employability have been investigated over the years. I urge you to think critically of information received from those clients who may be reluctant to leave the welfare system. I also encourage you to tread lightly when you speak of how HS Systems makes its employability determinations and what information it provides to the New York City Agency responsible for Workfare assignments. Your accusations indicate that you are under the misguided impression that HS Systems, Inc. is responsible for certain unfortunate occurrences involving previous clients; however, to date no such determination has been made, and we believe we bear no blame for these events.

Each of our physicians involved with employability assessments is now and has been since the time of his or her hiring, in good standing with the American Medical Association and the State Education Department, Division of Professional Licensing Services, and is either Board Eligible or Certified in at least one specialty. Our credentialling process precludes the hiring of physicians whose background or professional history are in question. We stand behind each of our medical professionals and strive to provide each client with a quality physical examination.

Our clients do not enter our facility through a back freight entrance. The entrance on 45th Street is the front of our facility and the elevator is licensed as a passenger elevator. The use of freight elevators for the purpose of transporting people would be in violation of NYC and NYS Health Codes.

We have taken the Community Board’s prior requests very seriously and have exerted every possible effort in those areas under our control to comply with those requests.

  • We have supplied a maintenance crew, at our own expense, to sweep the sidewalk in front of our entrance several times daily. The sidewalk is washed daily.
  • We have asked the local precinct to send out additional patrols to reduce illegal parking
  • We have had signs posted that relate to parking and loitering
  • Our facility provides waiting areas with bathroom facilities for visitors
  • The landlord has provided lighting in the entrance so that loitering may be minimized after hours (this was completed in 1996)
  • We have adjusted our hours of operation so that our clients may be accommodated during morning weekday hours only. Even though our first appointments are for 8 am, we allow patients to enter the facility at 7:30 am. We are planning further schedule changes to better manage the daily flow of patients.
  • Our appointment letters indicate that patients should limit the number of people that come with them
  • We selected a security agency recommended by the Community Board to maintain order and to provide crowd control
  • Together with my Director of Operations, I do spot checks of the area.

I have sought to address and satisfy many of the Community’s concerns over the years. There is no letter or phone call that has gone unanswered. I have worked with the vendors on 45th Street to alleviate any burden the guests of our clients have created. However, as you should know, we cannot force people to move along and not to loiter. Our advice to our neighbors who observe individuals, over whom we exercise no control or influence, performing illicit activities or other public nuisance is to call the police as we have. As you know, our facility closes early in the afternoon and therefore, we have no information as to who would be on 45th Street after our closing. Moreover, there is a light in front of our entrance as well as in the lobby to discourage individuals from using that doorway as a public urinal at night.

I recommend that in the future, you confirm your information before you decide to publish and distribute it widely. Our decision not to pursue legal remedies against those media vis a vis the false statements made about HS Systems and its physicians, does not preclude our seeking redress against individuals and organizations.

I am still willing to do whatever is reasonable and within my power to change to help mitigate effects of our operation on the neighborhood, but I can no longer tolerate unfounded attacks from the Community Board.

Yours truly
HS Systems

Yvonne M. Jones

cc:
Hon. Rudolph Guiliani, Mayor
Hon. Ninfa Segarra, Deputy Mayor, Education and Human Services

Hon. C. Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President
Hon. Jerrold Nadler, United States Representative
Hon. Catherine Abate, State Senator
Hon. Franz Leichter, State Senator
Hon. Richard Gottfried, State Assemblymember
Hon. Scott Stringer, State Assemblymember
Hon. Tom Duane, City Councilmember
Hon. Jason Turner, Commissioner, Human Resources Administration
Deputy Inspector Thomas Purtell, Midtown North Precinct

Jennie Esterow, Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit
Adrianne Leaf, NYC Office of Employment Services
Eduardo Laboy, NYC Human Resources Administration
John Fisher, West 45th Street Block Association
Cathy Blake, NYS Department of Health
Elizabeth Benjamin, Legal Aid Society
Kathleen Kelleher, Legal Aid Society
Les Helfman, Legal Aid Society
Heidi Dorrow, Urban Justice Center

Bob Roberts, Urban Justice Center