Profit and Abuse at Homes for the Profoundly Disabled
Dec 10, 2015 - 3:30:21 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Privately run residential programs were supposed to be an antidote to the ills of institutional care for society's most vulnerable: children and adults with profound disabilities like severe autism.
But a deep examination of AdvoServ -- a veteran industry player now owned by a private equity firm -- shows how a powerful, well-financed provider can exploit a fractured system, using its deep pockets to beat back sanctions, bully regulators and shape the very rules it plays by, ProPublica's Heather Vogell writes.
- AdvoServ has been cited multiple times for its aggressive use of mechanical restraints, such as leather cuffs. Although these tactics can cause injury or trauma -- at least 62 children have died after being restrained -- over 80 percent of residential treatment facilities have recently used the techniques on children.
- AdvoServ has proven as adept at working over the state agencies that deliver it clients -- and the millions of dollars that follow them -- as it has the political process. The company's relentless advocacy in Delaware, where it's headquartered, kept a stream of residents flowing to its facilities even after two sets of regulators raised alarms about children hurt in its care.
- Calls for federal action have failed. A bill first introduced in 2008 would have required the federal government track abuse complaints and create a website listing residential providers for kids nationwide. It has gone nowhere.
- Today, AdvoServ appears poised for more growth. The company is expanding into Virginia.
More in the full story here: https://www.propublica.org/article/advoserv-profit-and-abuse-at-homes-for-the-profoundly-disabled.
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