A federal investigation has found that Texas is failing to protect disabled residents who are living in large state facilities, from possible lapses in health care.
The U.S. Justice Department said in a report that deficiencies in staffing put residents in 13 facilities at risk of abuse and neglect .
The probe concluded that serious problems and deficiencies in care currently exist throughout the facilities where nearly 5,000 vulnerable Texans live.
“We have concluded that numerous conditions and practices at the facilities violate the constitutional and federal statutory rights of their residents,” said an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The mortality rate for some of the facilities raises serious concerns regarding the quality of care that facility residents receive.
114 residents died in the past year, including at least 53 deaths from aspiration, pneumonia, sepsis, bowel obstruction and other “preventable conditions that are often the result of lapses in care or failure to put medical interventions in place in a timely manner.”
More than 800 employees have been suspended or fired for abusing residents since 2004, the report said.
The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, which operates the state schools, is working with the Justice Department to address the violations and avoid litigation.
The facilities served individuals of all ages who have been diagnosed with mental retardation. Many have other health issues and require frequent monitoring.
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