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Group: DHHS Hasn't Helped Providers In Wake Of Alleged Abuse, Neglect

The Maine Association for Community Service Providers says Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services is failing to work with the provider community to resolve issues identified in a scathing federal audit that found the state does not properly investigate critical incidents involving people with developmental disabilities.

Association Executive Director Lydia Dawson says in a written statement released Thursday that DHHS has repeatedly ignored requests from providers for guidance on proper reporting of critical incidents.

Dawson also disputed DHHS’s recent claim to lawmakers that it’s holding quarterly meetings to identify trends with critical incidents. Dawson says the meetings are infrequent, and that the department does not share any data analysis.

On Wednesday, DHHS sent a letter in response to lawmakers’ requests for more information on actions it’s taking to rectify issues laid out in the federal audit.

The Office of the Inspector General released the audit in August. It found DHHS failed to report 95 percent of incidences of suspected abuse or neglect of people with developmental disabilities in community care settings. DHHS also failed to investigate 133 deaths during a two and a half year time frame, including nine deaths that were deemed as suspicious, unexplained, or untimely.