Discovery of Abuse, Neglect, and Irresponsibility, in Adult Foster Care Facilities
On behalf of Fausone Bohn, LLP on Monday, June 15, 2015.
On Tuesday, May 19th, a state audit on The Adult Foster Care and Homes for the Aged Licensing Division revealed the agency’s disturbing misconduct and improper treatment of patients. The findings of the audit are based on a random sample of state-licensed adult foster care facilities around the state.
The summary of the audit first highlights how the agency failed to report 25% of patient neglect and abuse complaints to the Adult Protective Services (APS) from 2010-2014. Their justification for not doing so is that staff members use subjective interpretations of the facts in each case, so often a staff member of the licensing division will dismiss a case simply because he or she did not think it warranted a referral to the APS.
If by chance a staff member deemed a case worthy of reporting, there was no guarantee that it would be handled in a timely fashion. In a sample of 76 complaint investigations, 33% were not completed within the required time frame. The victims of neglect and/or abuse are often not treated with enough respect to have prompt and thorough evaluations of their cases.
The audit also found that 6 of the 44 randomly selected state-licensed facilities were not administering background checks before hiring potential employees. Current state law prohibits these facilities from hiring of individuals with felony convictions for abuse, neglect, cruelty, torture, criminal sexual conduct, prescription drug diversion, or felonious use of a dangerous weapon. Yet, several of the facilities failed to screen their employees for such convictions. In fact, at least one employee was convicted of one of these felonies and still was able to stay employed for over 2 years.
Just as complaint investigations were not completed with urgency, employee background checks took an average of 217 days (around 7 months) after hire in 5 of the facilities. The sluggishness of background check procedures endangers both the patients and employees of the facilities.
Although a majority of state-licensed adult foster care facilities do not exhibit these problems, you need to have an experienced Elder Abuse attorney on your side in case you fall victim to neglect or abuse. At Fausone Bohn, LLP, our elder law attorneys will fight to right this wrong and are prepared to go to trial if that is what your case requires. Give us a call today for a consultation on your case.