Second audit finds NY facilities are not properly reporting abuse, neglect

Cayla Harris

Times Union

Nov 18, 2019

Four months after an audit found that facilities run by the state Office of Mental Health are not properly notifying family members of abuse and neglect within their walls, a second audit released Monday said that the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities also faces compliance issues.

The new audit released by the state comptroller's office reports that OPWDD has not enacted policies to ensure that facilities are in compliance with Jonathan's Law, enacted in 2007. The law increases families' ability to access records related to incidents of abuse or neglect, and it also requires centers to disclose those incidents to family members within 24 hours after they are reported.

The law was named for 13-year-old Jonathan Carey, who died in 2007 after he was crushed to death by a caretaker at the now-closed O.D. Heck facility in Niskayuna. The notification requirements apply to facilities "operated, licensed or certified by" OPWDD, OMH or the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

Auditors reviewed records for 295 incidents at six facilities overseen by OPWDD between April 2015 and last spring, and found that in 11 percent of cases, facilities could not provide evidence that they notified family members or guardians less than a day after an incident was reported. In a similar review of eight OMH facilities released in July, the state comptroller reported that centers could not provide that documentation in 20 percent of the 210 incidents they reviewed, all of which involved children.