DLT Denies Unemployment Benefits Under Pressure from DOH
Governor and General Assembly Silent as Targeted Abuse Continues
Cranston, RI – In a shocking example of coordinated government abuse, the Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training (DLT) has apparently caved under pressure from the Department of Health (DOH) to deny benefits to Dr. Stephen Skoly, after the latter issued a compliance order that banned the longtime surgeon from providing critical care to his private and wards-of-the state patients, effectively shutting down his practice.
The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has obtained copies of notices from DLT to Dr. Skoly, citing “Voluntary Quit” and “potentially fraudulent activity” as reasons why his claims for unemployment benefits were “disqualified” … even though another government agency was directly responsible for Skoly’s unemployment status.
It was initially communicated by a DLT official that Skoly’s original benefit denial was in error … and would soon be remedied. However, it appears RI DOH has since over-ruled the DLT, as part of its effort to destroy Dr. Skoly for daring to exercise his first-amendment rights.
“I have always put the safety of my patients as my number one priority. But this act of government totalitarianism clearly indicates that public health is not the DOH’s top priority. In targeting me for punishment, these vengeful acts demonstrate that this is all about politics” exclaimed Skoly, the Center’s Chairman, who for decades was the sole contractor to the RI DOH to provide his specialty care. Dr. Skoly has not been allowed to care for his patients for two months and was forced to lay-off his 12 person staff, who are now collecting unemployment payments at taxpayer expense. “My attorneys are right now preparing my legal challenge.”
Dr. Skoly’s plight will be discussed in detail by Mike Stenhouse and co-host Steve Laffey today at 4:00 PM EST on the popular In The Dugout show at OceanStateCurrent.com/LIVE .
Even worse, even though Skoly has been paying into the state’s unemployment fund for decades for himself and his staff, DLT has also denied benefits to laid-off employees of Dr. Skoly’s practice.
“Outrageous; this is an obvious and corrupt conspiracy. I have learned through my sources that government officials are making an example of Dr. Skoly because of his affiliation with our Center,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO. “It should be of grave concern to every Ocean Stater that unelected bureaucrats like Nicole Alexander-Scott can wield such vengeful and absolute power … while feckless elected officials like Governor McKee and Speaker Shekarchi just stand back and let it all be. We have truly reached crisis levels of unchecked bureaucratic tyranny.”
This is not the first time unelected and unaccountable ideologues at DOH have maliciously exerted their power over other branches of government. Shortly after DOH issued its October 1 compliance order against him, and with it becoming increasingly obvious that wards of the state were suffering because they could not receive his care, Dr. Skoly received word that Governor McKee might consider offering him a special-circumstance extension. However, in subsequent negotiations, Alexander-Scott’s staff refused to acknowledge the Governor’s offer, which was immediately pulled from the table.
Initially, after issuing its compliance order against Dr. Skoly, the RIDOH also refused to comply with the prescribed regulatory process or provide any formal hearing, as required, to consider Skoly’s unique medical exemption claim, which includes high levels of naturally acquired immunity against the Covid-19 virus.
As an oral and maxillo-facial surgeon, Dr. Skoly’s practice should be regulated by the state’s Board of Examiners in Dentistry, a legitimate and long-standing regulatory review process. However, RI DOH … recognizing the great respect Dr. Skoly has rightfully earned from this board’s members after decades of stellar service as a contractor to the State and as service provider to private patients … instead bypassed that longstanding process and arranged a sham ‘administrative’ hearing earlier this month to uphold its unlawful compliance order.
Then, in early November, the RI DOH openly defied Governor McKee … after he granted extensions to workers at two hospitals regarding their compliance with Rhode Island’s healthcare worker vaccine mandate … when it slapped violation notices on the Landmark Medical Center and the state-operated Eleanor Slater Hospital as a precursor to eventual fines and patient care restrictions.
Dr. Skoly, an oral and maxillo-facial surgeon, questions why the RIDOH refuses to recognize his naturally acquired immunity to Covid19 (and other healthcare workers’) as a legitimate medical exemption. In late September, he made public his decision to not comply with the state’s October 1 vaccination mandate for healthcare workers, a decision he based on his personal and rare medical history as well as his principled belief in individual liberty.
As the over-whelming body of scientific evidence supports Dr. Skoly’s position, the Center has for months publicly called for the DOH to include natural immunity as an allowed exemption for any Covid-19 vaccine mandate.
While the Center opposes government-imposed mask and vaccine mandates, the data clearly demonstrates that “natural immunity” is an important policy consideration; and that the existing RI DOH healthcare worker vaccine mandate, for as long as it is allowed to legally stand, must be immediately modified (as the science overwhelmingly suggests) to include “natural immunity” as an approved case for exemption.
Earlier this fall, based on analysis of state and international research data, as performed by Dr. Andrew Bostom, in support of a conclusion that has been publicly advanced by a growing host of nationally prominent immunologists, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity (Center) called on the Rhode Island Department of Health to include “natural immunity” as an allowed “contraindication to vaccination” on the official RI DOH medical exemption form.
In the Center’s policy brief published by Dr. Bostom, an adjunct medical scholar to the Center and a Brown University credentialed epidemiologist, when assessing the benefits and risks of natural immunity to Covid-19 as compared with immunity from the vaccine, Bostom joins an increasing number of medical professionals and institutions in concluding that the body’s natural immune system provides a more robust and longer lasting protection against Covid-19 than do the currently offered vaccines.
To date, about 4000 emails have been delivered to state officials via an online petition whereby concerned citizens and can #StandWithDocSkoly . The petition, plus related documentation and links can be found on the Center’s website at RIFreedom.org/DocSkoly.