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Capitol Correspondence - 08.10.17

Office of Inspector General Releases Maine Report on Neglect/Abuse, Expect More State Reports In Future

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The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) based in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released an additional report in a series, investigating cases of abuse and neglect of individuals with IDD in home and community-based supports, specifically in group homes.

Originally, OIG began investigating Connecticut agencies at the request of U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), issuing that report in 2016 (see report here). The Senator acted in response to a 2013 investigative report by the Hartford Courant newspaper which documented a series of abuse, neglect or other critical incident cases in group home settings (see recap article here, which also links to the original series). Upon finding violations in Connecticut, OIG decided to expand its investigation to other states. After Connecticut, it investigated group homes in Massachusetts (see report here). This most recent report is on the state of Maine – click here to access the report.

In Maine, OIG’s principal focus was on the state agency’s failure to report potential abuse, neglect or rights violations to the state’s Disability Rights Agency. However, it did recognize that community service providers also had issues regarding failing to complete mandatory reporting. Overall, OIG found that Maine’s state agency did not comply with federal waiver and state requirements in six ways.

Specifically, OIG found that the state agency did not:

  • Ensure that community-based providers report all critical incidents to the State agency;
  • Ensure that community-based providers conduct administrative reviews and submit findings within 30 days of all critical incidents involving serious injuries, dangerous situations or suicidal acts;
  • Report appropriately all restraint usage and rights violations to DRM;
  • Review and analyze data on all critical incidents;
  • Investigate and report immediately to the appropriate district attorney’s office or to law enforcement all critical incidents involving suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation; and
  • Ensure that community-based providers reported all beneficiary deaths to the State agency appropriately and that the State agency analyze, investigate, and report the deaths to law enforcement or Maine’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

The Bangor Daily News wrote a more in-depth summary of the report – access it here. The state agency has disagreed with two of the findings – you can see its official response here.

ANCOR expects reports to come out in the future on other states, so please stay tuned. If you are aware of OIG activity in your state and your state has not been mentioned in this article, please contact Doris Parfaite-Claude at [email protected].