Too Little, Too Late

In continuing to  address the issues of reported healthcare neglect  in the intermediate care facility for those with intellectual disabilities and how investigations are handled within the Department of Social and Health Services, I have had very similar observations of a flawed system that is reported by experts in the report Too Little Too Late:  A Call to End Tolerance of Abuse and Neglect.

too-little-too-late-title

The above report does not address complaints and investigations of allegations from those living in the institutions but the observations reported by the expert consultants are concerns that I have expressed regarding lack of accountability in the system which is supposedly there to protect our most vulnerable.  I realize it is not my imagination but reality that the system is broken.

“My review of the Washington DSHS Quality Assurance system, specifically mortality review, found a flawed system that does not “meet and maintain high quality standards” and is not an effective safeguard to protect health and welfare. Within the 6 months studied-June 1- December 31, 2012- there was a number of preventable waiver participant deaths. In addition to the concerns I have about these avoidable deaths, the poor quality of care for other participants, whose death although expected, causes me great concern about the quality of health care coordination and provider ability to meet the health and welfare needs of Washington waiver participants.”

Sue A. Gant, Ph.D. Date:  August 6, 2012

 

“Another unusual feature of the RCS investigation summaries is that they often did not reference findings pertinent to the allegations of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and exploitation referenced in the initial complaint(s). In other cases, investigation summaries would reference these allegations and findings regarding their merit, but then conclude that the no provider practice deficiency was identified.”

“Many of the problems could be traced back to the tardiness of the investigations, but others (as also noted in my initial report) reflected the investigators’ failure to address significant issues, including allegations of abuse and neglect. In addition, as noted in my initial report, these investigations continued to manifest a trend of very “conservative” determinations of no citations for “failed provider practice,” even in instances when investigation documents explicitly referenced failed practices.

In addition, DSHS’ routine “planned ignoring” of allegations of employee abuse and neglect in its investigations is wholly non-compliant with basic expectations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as its own Quality Management Strategy”

Nancy K. Ray, Ed.D. President NKR & Associates, Inc

As a nurse who has worked in a Joint Commission Accredited Healthcare Institution  for over 30 years, I understand the purpose of nursing policies and protocols.  They are not just a useless exercise – they are there for a reason – TO ENSURE PATIENT SAFETY – and they accomplish this through various routes.

he prerequisite training credentials of their investigators, are not addressed at all by DSHS’ policies. Other procedures prescribed by the policies are routinely not complied with, either because resources to ensure their implementation are not available or supervisory oversight by DSHS is so lax that noncompliance by investigators and their supervisors has become commonplace.

When an investigation is returned “Allegations unfounded” together with the nursing policy that was clearly violated in many areas, questions of integrity, accountability, knowledge of the subject matter, and many other questions arise.  There is certainly not “closure” to the problem as the agency sweeps it under the carpet with the rest of the ignored problems they wish away.

Resident health and safety is at risk and will continue to be so until some of these problems are addressed and a plan of correction put in place and evaluated for success.

Abuse and Neglect Response Improvement Report – October 2013

subcommittee-response

 

There is a solution to the problems that I am referring to.  Ensure The Department of Health has oversight and licenses the healthcare clinics housed on the campuses of the residential habilitation centers.  DOH is the state agency which specializes in healthcare and should be the agency which provides oversight of healthcare – not the Department of Social and Health Services.

 

Olmstead Celebration Event (celebration of the misinterpretation of Olmstead)

Olmstead Celebration

 

The invite reads:

 

“On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  This landmark Supreme Court decision requires states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that persons with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. ”

The Department of Health and Human Services and The Department of Justice need to read and understand what they, themselves have written:

 

eliminate UNNECESSARY segregation

receive services in the most integrated setting APPROPRIATE to their needs

Olmstead also guarantees INDIVIDUAL CHOICE 

Unfortunately, neither of these agencies understand what this means and use a heavy handed, judgmental approach to force people and evict people from their homes of their choice and needs – and they are doing this under the guise of Olmstead.

I know that I will be listening in to hear how they rationalize their harmful and draconian actions.

Here is the rest of the announcement:

In observance of this important milestone, please join senior officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) for a celebration of the Olmstead decision.  The event will also feature three panels of speakers on the past, present, and future of Olmstead as well as a screening of a DOJ-HHS video that includes testimonials from people whose lives were changed by the Olmstead decision.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Great Hall

Hubert H. Humphrey Building

200 Independence Avenue SW

Washington, DC 20201

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Please indicate your response to this invitation by contacting Evelyn Hernandez by email at Evelyn.Hernandez@acl.hhs.gov by June 13th.  Registration is required and space is limited.  If you have questions please call Evelyn at 202-357-3518. Please call if you require special accommodations.

For those not able to attend the event in person, HHS Live will carry the event live at http://www.hhs.gov/live/.

 

Olmstead_15th_Event_Invitation