There are state agencies that are charged with investigating reports that someone is suffering from elder abuse and neglect. In some states, the Department of Health and Human Services or its equivalent are charged with this. For nursing homes that receive federal funds from Medicare or Medicaid, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) investigates. Unfortunately, some organizations charged with these investigations fall well below what is expected as CBS Local Minnesota reports.
A scathing report compiled by the Office of Legislative Auditor revealed that the Office of Health Facility Complaints left thousands of reports uninvestigated.
According to the report, of the 24,000 elder abuse complaint reports filed in 2017, only 5% – approximately 1,200 – were investigated.
The author of the study says that the lack of investigation was due to a work environment that was at time toxic.
According to the report, the agency took as many as 38 days to interview the vulnerable adult. Another seventy-five days were taken to interview the alleged perpetrator. Cases took an average of 140 days for investigations to be completed.
The report goes further to blame the lack of investigation on lawmakers’ tolerance of bad management dating back years. Another reason cited for the lack of successful investigations was high staff turnover and low morale.
The report also indicated that abuse reports have risen 50% over the past five years.