ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — During a press conference Tuesday, the Albany County Executive Dan McCoy joined Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, state lawmakers and directors of local organizations which help incoming migrants to express their concerns over the placement process of incoming asylum seekers and the contractor in charge.
“DocGo has time and time again not worked with us on information and the last time our office has really spoken to DocGo was June 22, which is alarming,” said McCoy. He and other officials sounding the alarm contractor DocGo paid by New York City to house and care for incoming asylum seekers placed at area motels, often with little to no notice. “DocGo is hiding behind HIPAA, and not sharing information with us,” said Mayor Sheehan. “But at the same time, as you heard from the County Executive, we are learning that the healthcare needs of the asylum-seekers coming here are not being met. That people are being dropped off at doctor’s offices, and not picked up.”
With school starting next month those speaking during today’s press conference said that DocGo has yet to provide information regarding numbers of school aged children either. “The families that are arriving now with children you could see the impact on these children,” said Micky Jimenez, Executive Director of Capital District Latinos. She added that her organization has fed hundreds of recent incoming migrants who have literally walked from the motels where they are placed to her office. She claimed that when social workers go to the motels to offer services they are turned away. “I’ve had social workers that volunteer for me show up to the hotels and they are not allowing them to speak to them and what we’re hearing from these folks is there is retribution if they speak to the media.”
The officials cited a New York Times article which reads that the company is being paid hundreds of millions of dollars in a no-bid contract to house, feed, and care for the asylum seekers and their families. News10’s Anya Tucker called DocGo’s CEO Anthony Capone as well as a placement organizer for the company to ask them how they could show where and how the money is being spent and to address the local officials concerns.
DocGo sent a statement late Tuesday night. It read, in-part:
“These recent assertions are the first time DocGo has learned of the issues cited by Albany City or Albany County Officials. DocGo’s CEO has maintained a direct, open communications channel with numerous senior county and city officials that has been used multiple times since the program was launched in late May. In addition to the June 22 meeting, this communication channel was used with senior members of the County Executive’s team approximately three weeks ago, on July 14. No one ever reached out since then to communicate about any of these assertions to DocGo executives.
Having said this, the assertions, if true, are unacceptable. DocGo has assembled a team to look into these assertions and ascertain the facts. If any of these assertions are found to be true, the company will take actions to ensure they do not occur again. Overall, our program continues to be successful. Our recent polling of over 500 asylees in our care show that over 85% of them like the program and feel they are well supported. We are proud of those results and intend to work to ensure their satisfaction continues.”