For many years in some states, the home care industry has not been regulated as well as it should, according to certain advocates for the elderly and disabled who most commonly rely on these services. In Texas, the Department of Aging and Disability Services is responsible for overseeing the standards of daily operations within the home care, assisted living, and nursing home sector.
This isn’t enough for some families worried about the safety and well-being of those who may need assistance. For example, according to Paul Vazaldua of McAllen, “While I think that there is [sic] very many capable home health providers and capable assisted living facilities, I just wanted to have one little more safeguard.”
There is great concern among Texas residents about the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and the fact that it may not be doing enough to protect seniors and those who have to rely on some type of in home care. According to its website, DADS “licenses, certifies and surveys home and community support services agencies (HCSSAs) for compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.”
However, some question their effectiveness or ability to actually keep people safe when having to turn to these services. Some of the methods that they utilize include surveys, which may not offer the kind of oversight family and friends are seeking.
As reported by KRGV in the news blog, Who’s Policing Home Healthcare Industry, written by reporter Ryan Nelson:
“DADS [Texas’ Department of Aging and Disability Services] conducts surveys to ensure the compliance of these agencies. Statistics obtained by CHANNEL 5 NEWS from the agency revealed there were 2,194 violations in total. One-thousand-four-hundred-eighteen cases were reported in Hidalgo County, 750 in Cameron County and 26 complaints were filed in Starr County from the Jan. 1, 2016 through Oct. 21, 2017.
They’re also the enforcement agency. According to their website, this means “an array of enforcement actions are available under state licensing laws, including actions against an agency’s license and monetary sanctions called administrative penalties. For HCSSAs with a Medicare provider agreement, recommended sanctions may include revocation of the Medicare provider number.”
Many people are encouraged to contact enforcement authorities if they suspect abuse, neglect, or other problems created by an aide, agency, or other entity that puts seniors and disabled adults at risk. Adult Protective Services is an agency that was specifically designed to provide an extra layer of protection. This agency investigates abuse, neglect, and exploitation of those over 65 years of age, as well as adults 18 and over who may have a substantial disability.
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