Volume V, Issue 4
“ P A T R O L L I N G T H E T O U G H E S T P R E C I N C T S I N N E W Y O R K ”
TO ALL CORRECTION OFFICERS AND THEIR FAMILIES!
Photo by: Ralph E. Smith
Pictured above: The COBA joins Correction Officers and Chief Carolyn Thomas during the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rikers Island.
IN THIS ISSUE:
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE P. 2 SALUTE TO COS SERVING IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN P. 6
COBA MAKES HISTORY! LEGISLATION VETERAN COs SAVE MAN'S LIFE P. 7
ALTERS "THE WHEEL" P. 3 IN MEMORIAM P. 7
WIDOWS AND CHILDRENS' FUND RAISES OVER $90,000! P. 4 TOP COBA ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN 2006 P. 8
2006 COBA SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS P. 4 COBA HEALTH CORNER P. 9-10
PRESIDENT SEABROOK JOINS MTA EXECUTIVE BOARD P. 5 IMPORTANT NEWS UPDATES P. 11
NEW YORK’S BOLDEST BRING JOY AND TOYS TO FOSTER KIDS P. 5 344 COs GRADUATE FROM THE ACADEMY P. 12
DISCOUNTED GYM MEMBERSHIP BY BQE GYM P. 14
First and foremost, I would like to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous
New Year. Now that the year is nearly over, we have the opportunity to reflect and to be thankful.
During this holiday season, the Executive Board and I would like you to remember our brother and sister
officers who have passed away. As you know, the COBA Widows and Children’s Fund continues to provide
financial assistance during the holiday season to the families of Correction Officers, who died while on
active duty. Their loved ones will never be forgotten.
Our thoughts and prayers are also with our brave brother and sister officers, serving in the United States
armed forces overseas. We are proud of you and we wish you a safe return home.
As we remember and pay tribute to our loved ones who are no longer with us, let us also appreciate the
family members, friends, and fellow officers who share our lives everyday.
In that same spirit, the Executive Board and I wish to express our deepest gratitude to each and every
member of this organization for your continued encouragement. While the COBA achieved much success
this past year-- from successfully negotiating another significant wage increase for all Correction Officers,
to passing important legislation, providing stability in the lives of Correction Officers, to introducing new
resources for you to improve your health, these accomplishments could not have been made possible
without your continued support and solidarity.
As we move forward into the new year, let us continue to cherish our families and do all that we can to
keep each other safe.
Enjoy the holidays and may God continue to bless you.
COBA MAKES HISTORY!!
After Seventy Years of Rotating Shifts,
COBA Alters “the Wheel”, Providing Stability in the Lives
of Correction Officers and Their Families
On November 9, 2006, President Norman Seabrook and the COBA Executive Board joined Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as he signed legislation (which
COBA had vigorously lobbied for), altering the antiquated three-platoon system of rotating shifts known as “the wheel”, which was created nearly seventy
Increasing the number of fixed, steady tours will help stabilize Correction Officers’ schedules, enhance staff accountability, and enable the Department
to expand its deployment of other personnel.
The plan was agreed to by city negotiators and by the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association as part of COBA’s contract agreement reached in
September of 2005. The vast majority of Correction Officers are in favor of increased steady tours, COBA President Norman Seabrook told the City
Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor during an October 24th hearing, after which, the committee voted unanimously to approve
Intro No.370, altering “the wheel”.
Below is an excerpt from President Seabrook’s testimony calling for altering “the wheel”:
"For a number of Correction Officers, their entire lives are spent working rotating shifts. These officers cannot establish stability in their lives. It prevents
them from doing some of the basic things of every day life such as scheduling medical appointments and parent/teacher conferences. The bottom
line is that working the wheel is very stressful, physically draining, and antiquated. Although it has not yet been proven, I strongly suspect that it's
detrimental to the health of Correction Officers. For these reasons, it is imperative that Correction Officers are afforded the opportunity to work in an
environment that allows them to meet the challenging demands of modern day life in the 21st Century."
The COBA will inform all Correction Officers with the latest information regarding the implementation of steady tours as soon as it becomes available.
Photos by: S. Tucker
COBA TAKES CARE OF ITS OWN!
The Scholarship Fund and the Widows and Children’s Fund Provides
Thousands of Dollars on Behalf of Correction Officers’ Families
Through the generosity of countless supporters over the years, the COBA Executive Board has kept its commitment to care for the families of Correction Officers. The COBA
established the Widows and Children’s Fund in 1996 to assist the children and spouses of Correction Officers, who died while on active duty with the New York City Department
Each Year the money raised at the annual COBA Awards Dinner is used to provide a check in the amount of $250 to each family of a deceased active Correction Officer to
help them purchase their Thanksgiving dinner. And at Christmas time, a check in the amount of $250 is provided as a holiday gift to each widow/widower. Additionally, a check
in the amount of $500 is provided to each eligible child of a deceased Correction Officer, ensuring that each bereaved family is not forgotten. This year alone, the COBA
Widows and Children’s Fund raised over $90,000, which will support 57 families of Correction Officers during this holiday season.
Along with COBA’s commitment to taking care of the families of deceased Correction Officers, the COBA also strives to assist Correction Officers and their children with their
education. Since its creation in 1996, the COBA Scholarship Fund has awarded approximately $300,000 in scholarships (the most awarded in the history of the COBA). This
year alone, the Scholarship Fund raised approximately $60,000. Scholarship checks in the amount of $1,000 were sent to thirty-three children of active Correction Officers,
two children of retired Correction Officers, two Correction Officer who are students, and one student of a Correction Officer who died while on active duty.
Below is a list of the 2006 COBA scholarship recipients. Congratulations to all the scholarship recipients!
2006 SCHOLARSHIP AWARD RECIPIENTS
STUDENT GRADE PARENT FACILITY
Tara Mueger Freshman College Eve Mueger AMKC
Siraaj A. Siddiqui 1st Grade Ejaaz A. Siddiqui AMKC
Robert P. Zinke 11th Grade Robert W. Zinke EMTC
Lauren DeLucrezia Freshman College John DeLucrezia EMTC
D’Angelo Heyward 5th Grade Gail Belton GMDC
Jonathan Accatino 2nd Grade James S. Accatino GMDC
Dana O’Neill 12th Grade Robert O’Neill GRVC
Kameka Young 9th Grade Crystal Davis GRVC
Marvella Murray 9th Grade Sandra Murray OBC
Jeremy Lozada 1st Grade Luis A. Lozada OBCC
Ammaarah Carrington 4th Grade Donna Carrington RMSC
Tiffany Marie Watson 8th Grade Teresa Simms-Williams RMSC
Ronald J. Richburg Jr. 4th Grade Ronald J. Richburg Sr. RNDC
Brittany Grice 9th Grade Darlene Grice RNDC
Douglas Stewart 10th Grade Irving D. Stewart DCJC
C’Asia M. Addison Sophomore College Jeffery D. Addison Trans Div.
Billie-Jean Sheridan Sophomore College William Sheridan SOD/I.U.
Melanie Esquilin 8th Grade Raymond Esquilin ESU
Brandon Henry 8th Grade Lambert E. Henry HDQTRS/AIU
Angelica Clark 12th Grade Carrie Fields HMD
Emily Savarese Pre-K Richard S. Savarese SSD
Jourdan Mayweather-Blair Pre-K Herbert L. Blair Jr. C.A./Recruit
Ana Bella Carbone 7th Grade Joseph Q. Carbone C.A.
Lamont Strickland Freshman College Ethel Strickland BHPW
Marie Robertson 5th Grade Bruce Robertson EHPW
Matthew E. Otero 9th Grade Mareline Cardona-Otero BXDC
Lakeima Brown 11th Grade Allen Brown BKDC
Brianna Calderon 10th Grade Frankie Calderon MDC/CTS
LeQuan Tyler 12th Grade Gwendolyn Tyler MDC
Darnell Forrester Junior College Donna Forrester QDC
Christopher Bridgewater Sophomore College Arthur Bridgewater VCBC
Nia Rollins 6th Grade Bianca Peebles NIC
Andrew E. Cordero 12th Grade Edwin Cordero W.F.
Tia Cox Senior College RNDC
Leroy Hunter Junior College
Raven D.C. Perpall 9th Grade Parent: Julie M. Whitten
Fernando Guzman Sophomore College Parent: Robert Lopez
WIDOW & CHILDREN’S STUDENT
Brandon P. Marcinkiewicz Junior College Parent: Theodore Marcinkiewicz
COBA PRESIDENT NORMAN SEABROOK
APPOINTED TO MTA BOARD!
Senate Republicans and Democrats Hail Seabrook’s
Appointment as the “People’s Representative”
On December 13, 2006, the New York State Senate unanimously voted to confirm
Governor George E. Pataki’s nomination of COBA President Norman Seabrook to
serve as an Executive Board Member at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s subways, buses, and railroads provide
2.4 billion trips each year to New Yorkers — the equivalent of about one in every
three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation's rail
riders. MTA bridges and tunnels carry more than 300 million vehicles a year —
more than any bridge and tunnel authority in the nation.
This vast transportation network — North America's largest — serves a population
of 14.6 million people in the 5,000-square-mile area fanning out from New York
City through Long Island, southeastern New York State, and Connecticut.
Pictured above: President Seabrook testifies before the New York State Senate Finance Committee, “Being appointed to serve as a member of the MTA Executive Board is an honor
moments before the Senate voted to confirm his appointment to the MTA Executive Board. and a privilege,” said President Seabrook.
“I pledge to do all that I can to serve the interests of the millions of working men
and women who utilize our public transportation system twenty-four hours a day,
seven days a week. In addition, Correction Officers should not feel alarmed or
troubled by this appointment. The men and women of the COBA have been and
always will be my top priority. This appointment clearly demonstrates that the
COBA has gained monumental ground in this City and State and that we are
second to none. Along with the help of every Correction Officer, the Executive
Board and I will continue to enhance this organization. By accepting this non-
paying position, it is abundantly clear that I am devoting my efforts solely because
of my deepest concern for the public’s interests. I also want to emphasize that the
Executive Board and I will continue to seek re-election to our positions at the COBA
and we will maintain our vigorous advocacy on behalf of New York City Correction
Officers to ensure that their voices are heard loud and clear, throughout the City
New York State Senate and State of New York.”
NEW YORK'S BOLDEST BRING JOY AND TOYS
TO FOSTER CHILDREN IN BROOKLYN!
On December 11, 2006, Correction Officers and other members of the Department of Correction distributed tons of toys to 200 foster children at the SCO Family Center in
Brooklyn. Thanks to the generous contributions from the COBA and the entire NYCD team, this holiday season will be a joyous one!
Photos by: Ralph E. Smith
COBA SALUTES CORRECTION OFFICERS SERVING IN
THE ARMED FORCES IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
During this holiday season, the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association would like to recognize the brave
men and women who wear the uniform of the New York City Department of Correction and who wear the
uniform of the United States military. Let us honor the following Correction Officers who are still actively
deployed overseas. While they may be in another part of the world, they are close to us in our thoughts and
in our prayers. We salute them for their continuous service to the City of New York and to the United States
of America. May God bless them and may they return home safely.
Name Rank Command Name Rank Command
Baez, Luis C.O. G.M.D.C. Lewis, Eugene C.O. A.M.K.C.
Been, Nathaniel C.O MHD Lindsey, Michelle C.O. MHD
Berdoe, Simone C.O. A.M.K.C. London, Tom C.O. O.B.C.C
Bruce, Sharon C.O. M.D.C. Malone, Terrence C.O. A.M.K.C.
Evans, Cornell C.O. A.M.K.C. Payne, Howard C.O. TRANS
Fragoso, Ivan C.O. ACADEMY Perez, Edwin C.O. N.I.C.
Frazer, Lincoln C.O. O.B.C.C. Rivera, Marcos C.O. G.R.V.C.
Gaskin, David C.O. G.M.D.C. Rodriguez, Enrique C.O. V.C.B.C.
Grossman, David C.O. G.M.D.C. Rodriguez, Michael C.O. N.I.C.
Herschtein, Louie C.O. G.R.V.C. Rodriguez, Pastor C.O. M.D.C.
Hill, Weltia C.O. H.Q Ronco-Duran, Varinia C.O. G.M.D.C.
Hurst, Winston C.O. G.M.D.C. Sales, Santos C.O. A.M.K.C.
Swanson, Anna C.O. B.H.P.W.
Webb, Terrance C.O. E.S.U.
CORRECTION OFFICERS RALPH E. SMITH & FERLISHA MURRAY
On November 21, 2006, I Ralph E. Smith, was leaving Manhattan traveling north on the West Side
Highway. It was a clear bright day that quickly turned into life and death at 4:00 pm when a SUV
traveling south on the highway lost control and became airborne, hitting a light pole about 20 to
30 feet in the air and landing on its side about ten feet from my car. I immediately jumped out of
my car and leaped over the highway rail and ran to the SUV. There was another vehicle, a white
car that spun around and landed on the rail close to the water. I pushed a man on top of the SUV
to try to open the door, but it was jammed. I then took my jacket off exposing my uniform and ran
to my car and got a 4 way tire iron bar. I joined a few civilians trying to break the front windshield
when I observed gas spilling out of the vehicle. I told all the people standing around me, “We got
to move faster!” Someone got the keys and with a lot of pulling, we got the back door hatch
open. I told the people standing around me to move back and I got in the vehicle to find one man
still in his seat belt in the vehicle. Someone gave me a knife. I cut the driver’s seat belt, and
wrapped my arms around his shoulders and started pulling on him. He was heavy. I estimate
CO Ralph E. Smith CO Ferlisha Murray about 210 pounds. I was tired. I knew the gas was still coming out and I told this guy, “You’re
coming out of here. We’re not blowing up today”! I pulled him to the end of the vehicle and some
great men helped me carry him about 20 feet away.
After getting this man to safety, I immediately went back to the north-bound side of the West Side
Highway and used my vehicle to block traffic and ordered all cars near the burning SUV to move.
I was joined by New York City Correction Officer, Ferlisha Murray, who was also on the highway
driving north. She got out her car and together we controlled the traffic scene until more
additional help from the NYPD arrived. Sadly, we learned that a lady in the car died at the
accident site. The picture of the SUV was taken after the scene was under control. For the grace
of God Go I. The only thing I could think about was saving anyone in the vehicle. Together with
God’s grace and a few good people I met on the road, we saved someone’s life. In the fox hole,
we all worked together. The NYPD and the NYCD worked as a team to save and protect life
on New York’s boldest streets and highways.
NYC Correction Officer Pulls Man Out of Car Seconds
“Everyday the men and women of the COBA demonstrate countless acts of courage and
Before Explosion on West Side Highway heroism, both on and off duty. This behavior is second nature,” said COBA President Norman
Seabrook. “Correction Officers Smith and Murray exemplify the very best qualities of New York
Correction Officer Ralph E. Smith is a twenty-year veteran of the New York City City’s Boldest and we are proud to honor them.”
Department of Correction, assigned to Headquarters. Correction Officer Ferlisha
Murray is a nineteen-year veteran of the New York City Department of Correction, If you want to nominate someone for Spotlight On…
also assigned to Headquarters. Correction Officer Smith gave COBA News his first- Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
hand account of their heroic actions, which saved the life of a man, who was Michael Skelly
Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association
involved in a tragic accident on the West Side Highway, just one day before 335 Broadway, Suite 515, New York, NY 10013
The COBA extends its deepest sympathies to the families of each of the retired Correction Officers who passed away in 2006.
Francoise Anderson Stanley Pikul Richard Maxwell Lionel Francois
Lois S. Degenhardt Herman W. Green Joseph Davidson John Howard Jr.
Stanley Landau Gregory Keith Graham Paulet Rich-Braddox Robert L. Cox
John F. McCann Helen Propfe Clenzo M. Thomason John Laverty
Ronald Harris James J. Brennan Leray Bruce Haynes Frank Dwenger
Derrick G. Reid Debra Saunders Sandra J. Lewis Neal Nenna
Patricia Wilson David Bierman Roosevelt Pitt Doris Sullivan
William Grant Evelyn Gordon Amos E. Small William L. Sterling
Leroy Huggins Kenneth Adams Roosevelt Rinehardt Thomas J. Giammarino
Leslie Ore Charles Lawrence Patrick McHugh James Jamison
Johnnie Wyche Warren Popino Richard Liszka Derek Reid
John F. Parrish Alice Weafer Elaine Vandelli Edward J.Landrum
The COBA extends its deepest sympathies to the families of each of the active Correction Officers who passed away in 2006.
CORRECTION OFFICER FACILITY CORRECTION OFFICER FACILITY CORRECTION OFFICER FACILITY
Alma E. Bullock OBCC Edwin Toledo RNDC Leslie C. Hills OBCC
Lamont L. Ross MDC Wayne Ridley TRANS Robin Wilson EMTC
Darryl L. Nobles TRANS Noberto Irizarry TRANS Miguel A. Cruz RNDC
Diana Irizarry AMKC
• Achieved a 6.24% wage increase for all Correction
Officers, covering 27 months with
NO RE-SCHEDULED TOURS!
• Successfully passed important legislation altering
• Distributed approximately $38,000 in scholarships to
the children of active and retired Correction Officers,
as well as, Correction Officers attending college.
• Raised over $90,000 for the COBA Widows’ and
“the wheel” and providing Correction Officers with Children Fund, which will assist 57 families of
more stability in their lives. Correction Officers during the holiday season.
• COBA passed legislation benefiting Correction • Initiated a new public relations campaign to
Officers who served as part of the rescue and promote Correction Officers throughout the City of
recovery efforts at ground zero. New York.
• Successfully defended Correction Officers at OATH. • Provided Correction Officers and their families with
new resources to improve their health.
COBA'S ATTORNEYS KEEP FIGHTING FOR CORRECTION OFFICERS
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OVERTURNS OATH DECISIONS AGAINST TWO COS
Recently, two Correction Officers were accused of misconduct by being
involved in a use of force incident involving chemical agents with an inmate
and failing to timely notify a supervisor regarding injuries sustained against
staff and the inmate.
The charges stemmed from allegations made by a captain that the officers
used excessive and improper force during an incident with an inmate. At
the Civil Service Commission hearing, COBA's attorney successfully
defended the officers' actions and proved to the Commission that they fully
The attorneys at Koehler & Isaacs LLP, COBA's law firm, work vigorously complied with the Department's notification requirements to supervisors.
every day to protect Correction Officers who are the subject of disciplinary Accordingly, the Civil Service Commission unanimously recommended that
charges. Summarized below is just one of their recent victories on behalf all charges against the officers be dismissed and that they be reimbursed
of Correction Officers. for the period during which they were suspended.
COBA HEALTH CORNER
particular condition, the CO ultimately will not be successful in navigating the worker’s compensation
system. He or she will very likely not get their benefits on time and their medical treatment will likely be
delayed as well. We always emphasize that for anyone entering the workers compensation process, they
need to know that there are really three components that comprise the workers’ compensation system.
Going to your primary physician is not a bad idea. It’s a good thing to do. But once you go to your primary
care doctor, it’s very important to remember that while your primary care doctor may be the best doctor for
treating non-work related problems, your primary care physician is not a specialist in occupational health
and therefore all three components of the workers’ compensation system may be over-looked and the
injured Correction Officer may be left without obtaining their medical benefits and/or their financial
Dr. Michael Hearns
COBA NEWS: How can Correction Officers prevent this from happening?
Dr. Michael Hearns is the President and CEO of Central Medical Services of Westrock
(CMSW). He is also the Director of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Dr. Hearns: They can prevent this from happening by working with an organization, such as ours, which
Medicine at Forest Hills Hospital---North Shore/LIJ Health System. He is a Board specializes in workers’ compensation. We are on the threshold of developing an occupational/disability
Certified physician, specializing in the field of Occupational and Environmental health unit with the COBA where all COBA members can have their work-related and non work-related
Medicine. He has been practicing medicine for over twelve years. medical needs addressed and taken care of. We have a central number that all COBA members can
call to initiate the process. That number is 718-626-4444. Once you call that number, you will
COBA NEWS: Dr. Hearns, thank you for taking the time to meet with us. Please tell us a little bit about be referred to one of our seven convenient locations within the City of New York and you will be given
your organization. an appointment in a timely manner.
Dr. Hearns: Sure. CMSW has been serving the medical needs of union members for the past fifteen COBA NEWS: What types of injuries or ailments do your Correction Officer patients typically have when
years. We are a multi-specialty disability medicine practice with locations in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, they come in for an examination?
Long Island and Manhattan. We focus our practice on the unique medical needs of union members
who are injured in the line of duty. We provide the expert assistance (medical and administrative) Dr. Hearns: Correction Officers, due to the high-risk nature of their job, are exposed to both occupational
required to successfully navigate through the complexities of the many disability systems. We are diseases and occupational traumas. With respect to the different types of diseases that we have seen
affiliated with Forest Hills Hospital, a member of the North Shore/LIJ Health System. Forest Hills Hospital over the years from treating Correction Officers, we have seen a lot of muscular-skeletal problems from
and its health system have specialists and general practioners who can provide services to meet all of opening and closing gates. We have seen a lot of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a condition that
our patients’ work-related and general health care needs. affects the nerve within the wrist. We have seen a lot of rotator cuff tears and shoulder inflammations.
This usually results from the repetitive nature of carrying those heavy restraints they use and from
COBA NEWS: What types of services does CMSW provide? kneeling down, turning and bending and applying those restraints on violent inmates. On the trauma
side, we have seen a lot of herniated disks in the neck, the mid-back and the lower back. We have
Dr. Hearns: Our organization is an occupational health organization. We provide occupational services seen many blown ACLs and knee problems. One thing we’ve seen that many people don’t like to talk
to union members like Correction Officers. Our services are varied. We offer services that cover a lot about is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. That usually results from the different types of
orthopedic related problems, neurological problems, psychiatric problems and most problems related to threats that Correction Officers are exposed to.
injuries or diseases incurred at work. As far as my medical background, I have specialized training in
occupational and environmental medicine. I look at all types of injuries and/or diseases that a CO can COBA NEWS: In regards to these physical and psychological injuries, such as PTSD, do you find that
develop from his or her exposure at work. A good example of an occupational disease is occupational Correction Officers make appointments right away to see a doctor or do they wait a long time to address
tuberculosis or occupational carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel for a CO can result from opening and closing their unique medical issues?
gates in his or her facility repeatedly throughout the day. Also, occupational health covers trauma
incurred from taking down an inmate, trauma incurred from slip and falls, or batteries forced by an Dr. Hearns: Unfortunately for a lot of Correction Officers, while they love their job, they’re also very stoic
inmate. So, we deal with all types of injuries and diseases that results from a CO’s exposure at work. and they will postpone seeing a caretaker initially. They wait until the condition is full blown. They wait
until the condition has totally disabled them before seeking proper care. Our goal by developing this
COBA NEWS: How successful is CMSW in assisting union members with their unique medical and occupational health unit with the COBA is to establish an outreach program to educate Correction
administrative needs when they undertake the complex processes involved in the disability systems? Officers on how to recognize a work-related condition, how to document a work-related condition, and
how to seek care as early as possible in order to minimize a disability that can result from incurring
Dr. Hearns: We have a high success rate due to a few simple facts: 1) We understand disability injuries. Ultimately, the most important part about seeking treatment early is to prevent those injuries
medicine. 2) We understand the needs of your brothers and sisters. 3) We understand the various from affecting the Correction Officer’s family as well. Injuries and diseases that disable a Correction
disability systems and their unique requirements. 4) We are well-recognized expert witnesses. Officer also disables his/her family. Without the officer providing for the family and contributing financially
to the family, the family becomes adversely affected by this occupational disease or condition, which
COBA NEWS: What’s the difference between Occupational and Environmental Medicine? could have been prevented or minimized.
Dr. Hearns: Occupational medicine is the part of Occupational Health that deals with work-related injuries COBA NEWS: What other things should Correction Officers keep in mind when seeking treatment for
and diseases. Environmental medicine on the other hand, which is still part of Occupational Health, is an injury or for a possible medical condition?
the treatment and the diagnoses of environmental conditions. For instance, if you are at home and you
are exposed to mold in your house from a water leak, that would be an environmental exposure and we Dr. Hearns: Our analysis of research data on the Correction Officer population has shown us that a
are trained specifically to treat, diagnose, and recognize environmental health-related problems. number of COs visit their primary care physician instead of visiting an occupational medical specialist and
are sometimes misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed. What do I mean by that? Many physicians or primary
COBA NEWS: Can you tell us a little bit about the specific services that you and your staff provide to care doctors are not aware of occupational-related medical conditions. As physicians that specialize in
assist Correction Officers, who are dealing with the workers’ compensation process? occupational health, we understand the relationship between your work exposures and the subsequent
development of work-related medical conditions, which may present themselves immediately or which
Dr. Hearns: Sure. Workers’ compensation is a state-run program and it’s overseen by the state. Workers’ may be delayed by months or even years. So if COs are being misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed and
compensation is radically different from all other types of health systems in that with workers’ compensation, their conditions become permanent, what happens is that the CO may stop going to work and after a
there are three main components. There is a medical component, there’s a legal component, and there’s long period of time, the CO may leave his or her job with regular retirement benefits, when in fact he or
an administrative component. So as specialists in occupational health, we take care of all three components she may have been entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for the rest of their lives or with 3/4
within the workers’ compensation system. That’s why we strongly encourage injured workers to see an disability retirement benefits. These are the possible outcomes of not being properly diagnosed and by
occupational specialist because all three components have to be addressed. So let me start discussing all being treated exclusively by a non-occupational health physician. We recommend co-management
three components separately. The medical component of the workers compensation system involves the between the Correction Officer’s primary care physician and our specialized occupational health
diagnoses and treatment of all work-related injuries or diseases. The legal component is the part where the physicians, not just for the Correction Officer’s well-being, but also for his or her family’s well-being as
injured worker would have to appear in court and they would need legal representation, as well as, having well.
a doctor who is willing to give up a day to testify in court on behalf of the patient. The legal component is
just as important as the medical component. The third component of workers’ compensation is the
Central Medical Services of Westrock
administrative component. This is very time consuming and it involves a lot of paper work. As physicians,
we like to practice medicine, but with the workers’ compensation system the way it is, we are inundated Telephone: 718-626-4444 • Fax: 718-626-3044
with paper work. And there’s paper work galore. So if all three components are not addressed for a E-mail: email@example.com • Website: www.cmswpc.com
COBA HEALTH CORNER CONTINUED
Sometimes surgery may be needed, although less so these days with spinal abnormalities. The
other main area that these scans are used for are in the orthopedic area, meaning abnormalities
related to the joints, which typically would include knee abnormalities like meniscus tears or
ligament tears, the classic ACL tear, which you see in a lot of sports injuries, and also shoulder
injuries like rotator cuff tears. Those are very common. We also do scans of other joints as well,
including wrists, ankles, and feet. So that would be the second main category. And again, the
importance here is that if things are picked up early and diagnosed early and you know the extent
of the abnormality, it can be treated properly with the hope of preventing progression of the
disease which would typically be arthritis in the shoulders, the knees, or other joints, which would
be much more difficult to treat or even impossible to treat, without major surgery or joint
Rick LaLuna Dr. Eliezer Offenbacher We can use MRI scans as a problem solver with the abdomen as well. Often people have cat
scans which might show a kidney stone. MRIs can help detect that. Or if there is a liver
Rick Laluna is the Managing Director of MRI Associates of Queens, PC. Dr. Eliezer abnormality, or an abnormality in the pancreas, the MRI has unique features in that it can tell
Offenbacher has been practicing medicine for 25 years and been working at MRI you more specifically what the abnormality is rather than just using a cat scan alone because
Associates for many years. MRI Associates of Queens, PC is located at 92-37 of the magnetic properties of the tissue. And in women, for pelvic abnormalities, which can’t be
Metropolitan Avenue, Forrest Hills, New York 11375. They can be reached at thoroughly evaluated with ultrasound, big fibroid tumors of the uterus or ovarian masses, MRIs
718-544-7994, Monday-Friday 8:00 am-9:00 pm and on Saturday, 8:00 am- 4:00 can be very helpful in giving more information about those things.
One application which we will be performing in the very near future is Cardio Vascular and
COBA NEWS: Thank you gentlemen for spending time with us today. Please tell Coronary CT, better known as Heart Imaging. CVCT performed on a 64 slice CT scanner allows
us a little about your facility. us to acquire images of the heart, coronary arteries, and vessels, non-invasively, by using a
simple injection of contrast dye in the arm. This breakthrough exam will allow for the improved
MRI ASSOCIATES: MRI Associates opened its doors in 1986 as Queens County’s very first diagnosis in patients with chest pain, patients who experience shortness of breath while at rest
out-patient MRI center. Our focus is, and has always been, to provide a compassionate, patient or with minimal exertion, as well as for patients with suspected congenital anomalies of the
friendly service that helps patients get back to feeling better as quickly as possible. We have coronaries, vessels, aortic dissection, or pulmonary emboli.
performed tens of thousands of exams over the past 20 years and along with our highly trained
staff of professionals, we look forward to continuing our service for years to come. We can also perform lung screenings which can greatly assist in the early detection of lung
disease. Also, we can conduct cardiac scoring, which measures the amount of calcium in and
COBA NEWS: Why should injured Correction Officers get an MRI or CT around the heart and its vessels. Although neither of these two exams are being covered at this
scan? time by insurance companies, the associated costs pale in comparison to the potential
detection of life threatening diseases.
MRI ASSOCIATES: It’s very important to know what’s going on to see how severe the injury
is because the earlier things are repaired, the less problems there will be done the road with
arthritis or other problems. So it’s important to know precisely what’s happening. Patients need
to first see their doctor for an evaluation at which time, if indicated, the doctor would write them
a prescription for either an MRI or a CT exam. We would also need some detailed clinical
history and possible diagnosis from the referring doctor and patient prior to scheduling the test.
We can schedule patients the same day if medically necessary, but exams can be conveniently
made any weekday or evening, as well as, on Saturdays.
COBA NEWS: Tell us a little about the specific equipment that you use in
examining your patients.
MRI ASSOCIATES: The two pieces of equipment that we are working with now, which
we’ve just installed this year are high-field strength MRI machines which have a wide open
bore, meaning the center of the scanner is very wide so patients feel very comfortable even if
they are big, or broad shouldered. In fact, the machine can accommodate up to 600 pounds.
And that is a big advantage over many other machines. The importance of the high-field
strength and also what we call high-gradient strength, is that the field strength relates to the
resolution of the images,meaning how sharp and detailed the MRI images are. Because the
images are acquired faster, the actual scans are shorter.
There are many applications for MRI scans but the most popular are for neurological and
orthopedic issues. MRI scans have the ability to look clearly into the brain and can evaluate
abnormalities like aneurysms, tumors, MS, seizure disorders, and possible stroke. MRI scans
are also the imaging modality of choice for imaging of the entire spine where it can evaluate COBA NEWS: How long do these procedures take?
and diagnose disc injuries, as well as, trauma to the spinal cord. Veins and Arteries can also be
imaged to clearly show possible blockages (stenosis) and aneurysms. MRI ASSOCIATES: The average MRI scan takes approximately twenty minutes in the actual
scanner depending upon whether you need to get contrasting done or not. Each scan is very
COBA NEWS: What are the preventive benefits from getting MRI and CT short. The main advantages of using both the CT and MRI scans are that we can get very thin
scans? images of rapidly of moving organs and we can stop their motion photographically to get much
sharper images. We can reconstruct images, either up or down without repositioning the
MRI ASSOCIATES: The main thing is that a lot of ailments or injuries, if they’re treated early, patient.
with the knowledge of what is happening as well, can prevent further damage and/or
progression of a disease. A lot of times that may just involve physical therapy or rest.
IMPORTANT NEWS UPDATES!
WHAT CORRECTION OFFICERS NEED TO KNOW:
Line-of-Duty Injury Settlement for many municipal workers serving in the military reserves. According to the City’s new
calculations, the amounts reservists owe are expected to be reduced by 40% on average.
In the last edition of COBA News, the COBA informed COs about the settlement reached Additionally, DCAS has started a plan to provide free tax advice to assist eligible veterans
between the City of New York and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) involving FICA (i.e. Social enrolled in the city's Extended Military Benefits Package. The service will be provided by
Security & Medicare) tax refunds to both the City and eligible uniformed members of the City’s H & R Block and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service at any of their branches in the metropolitan area.
Correction Department. The years covered by this settlement are 1989 through 2005. Eligible
uniformed members of the Department who were on authorized Line of Duty Injury (LoDI) leave Identity Theft Protection Enhances SunRX Prescription ID Cards
at some point during the years 1989 through 2005 will likely be eligible for a refund of the
FICA taxes paid on LoDI payments received for a period of six months or less. In an effort to protect your identity, The Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association will issue new
SUNRx prescription identification cards. The new card will be effective January 1, 2007. Be sure
To find answers to frequently asked questions concerning the Line-of-Duty Injury Refund to keep this card with you at all times and present it to your pharmacist. This card is the only valid
Claim, go to the following website http://www.nyc.gov/html/opa/html/faqs/lodi_faq.shtml card, so when you receive the new card, you should immediately dispose of the previous card.
If you have any questions, contact SUNRx at 1-800-786-1791 Monday though Thursday 8:00
For inquiries regarding the FICA Refund Claim you can use any of the following am – 6:00 pm, Friday 8:00 am-5 pm, or Saturday 10:00 am- 2:00 pm.
Koehler & Isaacs LLP Update on 9-11
Lawsuits Involving First Responders and Ground Zero Toxins
By mail: The City of New York Office of Payroll Administration
FICA Refund Claim Unit Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, COBA's attorneys, Koehler & Isaacs LLP, have
One Centre Street Room 200N New York, NY 10007 assisted Correction Cfficers, who took part in the rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero
Telephone: (212) 669-2333 and who were exposed to potentially dangerous toxins, with protecting their legal rights and
with informing them about the ongoing lawsuits that are being pursued by many of the 9-11
City of New York Eliminates Housing and Food Allowances
for Military Reservists Recently, a federal judge rejected the City of New York's claim that the City is protected by law
from being sued over the way it handled rescue and recovery operations at ground zero and
On Veterans' Day, Mayor Bloomberg delivered some good news to military reservists working directed that a special master be appointed to assist all parties. According to attorneys handling
for the city, announcing that they would not be required to repay the housing and food this case, it appears that there remains a small window of opportunity to file additional
allowances that they received while serving overseas. complaints on behalf of those rescue and recovery workers who have not yet participated in
The Mayor directed DCAS to review options for changing the Extended Military Benefits
Package in light of some of the concerns expressed by the returning reservists. Based on If you are interested in learning more about the WTC litigation or in filing a claim against the
DCAS's recommendation, repayments will be calculated solely on gross base pay that officers City, you should contact Keith D. Silverstein, Esq., at 212-385-1444. He will send you a copy
receive while serving in the military. The recalculations will also be applied retroactively to all of the federal complaint that has been filed in the Southern District of New York, as well as, the
workers who signed up for the extended benefits, according to the city. required forms for you to become eligible for filing a claim. He will also answer any questions
you may have. According to Mr. Silverstein, the window to file claims is closing and may expire
The announcement comes after many reservists, the COBA, the City Council and other law- soon.
enforcement unions, complained of unfair calculations, which led to thousands of dollars in bills
Interview with MRI Associates continued from page 10
COBA NEWS: Why should Correction Officers utilize the services at
MRI ASSOCIATES: The advantages of people having their imaging performed on a high
field Open MRI and a 64 slice Multi Detector CT scanner are that you get a much higher
degree of accuracy with significantly greater image detail. This allows you to see parts of the
body more clearly, and it provides you with a better diagnosis of a disease. MRI Associates of
Queens is poised to assist all COBA members by offering them state of the art imaging, with
caring, compassionate attention, quick and convenient appointments, and prompt turn-around
of results to their personal physicians.
COBA WELCOMES THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF
NEW YORK CITY’S BOLDEST
344 NEW CORRECTION OFFICERS JOIN THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION
On October 10, 2006, COBA President Norman Seabrook presided over the DOC graduation ceremony at Brooklyn Community College for 344 new probationary Correction Officers. Family and
friends cheered and cried tears of joy for the hundreds of new Correction Officers who completed their extensive fifteen-week training curriculum at the Correction Academy, which included training
in security, use of force techniques, constitutional law, chemical agents, physical training, first aid, health and investigative procedures. The class valedictorian was Correction Officer Frank Cardamone,
who graduated with a grade point average of 96.3. The class salutorian was Ramon Diaz, who graduated with a grade point average of 96.2. Many in the audience had an additional reason to
applaud the new probationary officers because forty members of the class are related to active or retired officers.
Ioannis Vartholomeos-EMTC Joseph Abraham-AMKC Left: Diane Crawford-Rose M. Singer Right: Constance Stevens-GRVC
Left: Darren Carr-EMTC Center: Monique Carpentar-EMTC Right: Calandra Carter-AMKC Joseph Rohr-GRVC
COBA WELCOMES NEW RECRUITS ON THEIR FIRST DAY AT DOC ACADEMY
COBA President Norman Seabrook welcomes the new recruits to the academy. COBA 1st Vice-President Israel Rexach
COBA 2nd Vice-President Joseph Bracco
KOEHLER & ISAACS LLP
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
61 BROADWAY, 25TH FLOOR
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10006
(917) 551-1300 • www.koehler-isaacs.com
WHAT TO DO IF YOU OR A FAMILY
MEMBER HAVE BEEN INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT
Have you or a member of your family been recently injured at work, or in an automobile, subway, or bus accident? Have you
been injured due to medical malpractice or negligence on the part of a hospital?
If you or a family member are injured in an accident and require immediate legal representation, call the law firm of Koehler &
Isaacs LLP at 917-551-1300 and you will be put immediately in contact with attorneys working with the firm who will be ready
to assist you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no charge unless you win your case or the case is settled by the firm.
The attorneys who will handle your case have a proven track record of securing substantial monetary settlements and/or verdicts
on behalf of their clients and their families. Below are just a few of some of their more recent cases:
• $14.5 million settlement for the families of two clients killed in an auto accident.
• $8 million settlement on behalf of the family of a client killed in an auto accident.
• $5.5 million verdict for the family of a client who died in a motor vehicle accident.
• $4 million settlement for an individual injured as a result of medical malpractice.
• $3.75 million settlement on behalf of a client who was seriously injured.
• $3 million settlement with a structure worth in excess of $10,000,000 on behalf of the family of a Correction Officer,
who died as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
• $1.5 million settlement in a medical malpractice case where a woman died after giving birth to a child.
• $1 million settlement on behalf of the family of a client, who died as a result of medical malpractice.
FIRST WEST OFFERS A WIDE VARIETY OF
MORTGAGE LOANS TO SUIT YOUR SPECIFIC NEEDS
Di sco u n t M o rtg ag es
Fo r C OB A Memb ers and th eir families
• No Application Fee • No Commitment Fee
• No Processing Fee • No Document Prep Fee
• Reduced Attorney Fee • No Courier Fee
• Reduced Title Charges • No Underwriting Fee
We have all the following programs available:
• FHA/VA, SONYMA, FannieMae, FreddieMac - Direct Lender
• Refinances, Second Mortgages and Equity Lines
• Second Home, Investment Properties and Relocation Mortgages
• No Income Verification and No Income / No Asset Verification
• Zero point loans available on most programs
• Officer Next Door Program
Fi rs t W e s t M o r t g a g e B a n k e r s , L t d .
Contact: Richard Tschernia, Executive Vice-President
2007 COBA CARDS AVAILABLE
Contribute to the COBA Widows and Children’s Fund by buying as many 2007 COBA Cards as you can. All proceeds from the sale are
earmarked for the COBA Widows and Children’s Fund. The cost is $1 per card. Orders should include additional funds to cover
postage: 37 cents for one to three cards, 78 cents for four to ten cards and $1.56 for eleven to twenty cards.
Make checks payable to
COBA Widows and Children’s Fund
335 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10013 (212) 274–8000.
Please complete coupon below:
Name: ________________________ Please send me ______ COBA Cards
Address: ______________________ $_________ for #_________ Cards
Address: ______________________ $_________ for Postage
City: __________________________ $_________ Total enclosed
State: _____________ Zip: ____________ Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association
What do you want on card?: __________ Contact Elizabeth Castro (212) 274-8000
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New York, NY 10013
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