State Cracking Down On Disabled Adult Abuse
In the wake of The New Mexico Department of Health terminating contracts with four disabled adult care providers, DOH is conducting a full review and investigation into every adult care provider and patient in the state.
At a press conference Monday morning at Roundhouse, DOH Secretary Patrick Allen said people with developmental and intellectual disabilities will be treated with the respect they deserve and negligent care will not be tolerated.
“My message is this: If you are in a position of caring for a developmentally disabled adult and you abuse that responsibility, take note, because we are coming for you,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “We are using every tool at our disposal to protect these vulnerable individuals and to make sure that incidents of abuse, neglect, and exploitation do not happen ever again in our state.”
Since the review began at the beginning of the month eight more possible incidents have been reported and are being investigated.
Allen says caregivers will be held to the highest standard and anyone who violates that trust will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“The uncomfortable truth is that being disabled makes someone more vulnerable to abuse, whether that’s because of a severe learning disability meaning the victim cannot understand what’s happening to them or because of a spinal injury means a woman being assaulted cannot sit up or move,” he said. “Reliance on caregivers, limited transportation options, limited access to sign language interpreters and assistant devices and isolation from the community and more can all put people with disabilities at risk.”
Allen says it will take about 30 days to visit everyone of the adults that are under the review of the State Aging and Long-Term Services Department. They will then set up a program to ensure all the adults and service providers are reviewed on a regular basis. He says since the investigations are ongoing they can’t comment on specific cases.
The four providers that have had their agreements terminated are; At Home Advocacy, Inc, Lynn Barbour, LLC and Sylvester and Company in Albuquerque and A new Vision Care Management of Collales.
Anyone suspecting abuse, neglect, or exploitation of any person who is on one of the state’s Developmental Disabilities Waiver Programs, or anyone else, should call the Adult Protective Services Central Intake Unit at: 1-866-654-3219.