An investigative report by Rachel Aviv in The New Yorker reveals how elderly citizens can become involuntary victims of private government contractors hired to manage their financial assets. The ambiguous mental health of some elderly patients exacerbates their ability to defend their possessions and right to autonomy.
Officials in Hollywood, Florida have opened multiple criminal investigations into the deaths of 8 nursing home residents who died Wednesday morning from heat exhaustion during an ongoing power outage caused by Hurricane Irma. The New York Times is reporting that “More than three million customers in Florida still lacked power Wednesday, including roughly 160 nursing homes, according to the state’s tracking system.” Hollywood local paper The Sun-Sentinel is reporting 115 other senior residents at the home were evacuated from the overheated facility, but their relatives remain confused about their health status.
An in-depth story from the Dallas Morning News explores how state Medicaid cuts are impacting children with severe disabilities and their parents. Read more
The 2015 winner of NCDJ’s Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability has published a new story about conditions in for-profit treatment facilities for those with disabilities. Heather Vogell’s story finds that “one for-profit company has used its deep pockets and influence to bully weak regulators and evade accountability.” Read more
According to a recent report from the Keystone Research Center, Pennsylvania’s nursing homes are misusing public funds. Although nursing homes are quite profitable, the report shows that the industry readily accepts government subsidies for healthcare provided to residents but pays low wages to employees. Advocates are now calling to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Read more.
In this investigative series into one of California’s largest group homes for children with mental disabilities and emotional disorders, ProPublica journalists expose failures at nearly every level to protect its troubled residents. The insitution at the center of the story, FamiliesFirst in Davis, was raided by police in June 2013 after a year of responding to hundreds of calls about drug use, rape, violence and negligence. According to reporter Joaquin Sapien’s explanation of how the story was covered, the investigators obtained data through public records requests and drew from interviews with more than three dozen subjects, including social workers and children who worked and lived in the home.
Read more, and watch the accompanying documentary “Sule’s Story,” at ProPublica.
This story from the Center for Investigative Reporting follows up on a 2012 investigation into the failures on the part of police to protect the developmentally disabled at California care institutions. The original series, Broken Shield, won the inaugural Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, the annual award of the National Center on Disability and Journalism.
Newly released records from the California Department of Public Health show 13 people have directly died from abuse, neglect and lack of supervision since 2002 at state-run institutions for the developmentally disabled. The Center for Investigative Reporting sued the public health department in 2012 after officials there refused to release the records over patient privacy concerns. This February, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of CIR and compelled the department to release the documents.
These documents paint the most vivid picture yet of the poor treatment sometimes experienced inside California’s five taxpayer-funded development centers, which house more than 1,100 patients. In total, the centers have been fined for their actions in the deaths of 22 people since 2002.
Read more at Reveal, CIR’s new digital platform for its investigations.
Moving to end the state’s lax oversight of the developmentally disabled, the Cuomo administration on Wednesday announced an agreement with the State Police to establish guidelines for reporting possible crimes against the disabled to law enforcement authorities.
Jonathan Carey did not die for lack of money.
New York State and the federal government provided $1.4 million annually per person to care for Jonathan and the other residents of the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, a warren of low-rise concrete and brick buildings near Albany.
Health-care providers on Wednesday lambasted state changes to a Medicaid program that make it harder for patients, particularly the elderly, to get in-home care for such everyday activities as eating, bathing and going to the bathroom.