Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) can confirm that the problems identified in the recent Austin American-Statesman article (“Disabled & Abandoned,” published September 22, 2022) concerning the abuse, neglect, and substandard quality of care in Medicaid-funded home and residential settings are causing real harm to Texans with disabilities. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the state agency charged with overseeing, monitoring, and inspecting these settings, and with investigating allegations of abuse and neglect, is simply failing in its duty to ensure that persons with disabilities residing in community settings are receiving the quality of care they are entitled to and deserve.
DRTx has and will continue to advocate for timely and thorough investigations and inspections in Medicaid-funded community settings, and we will continue to educate the Texas Legislature on the systemic issues that are causing some of the problems identified in the Statesman’s article. Some of the systemic issues that must be addressed include the chronic underfunding of staff, which is resulting in severe staffing shortages, and HHSC’s failure to timely and effectively investigate complaints of abuse and neglect.
Texans with disabilities have the right to safely live in the community and to receive quality care. We will continue our efforts to hold the state and providers accountable until the system denying this right is corrected.