Audit of OIG’s process of investigating fraud and abuse in group homes released

Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino released an audit regarding the oversight of group homes for the developmentally disabled by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and it’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The audit released on December 21st contains a total of 13 recommendations to the OIG and DHS.

“It’s horrific to hear the state confirm allegations of abuse and neglect have increased 50 percent over the past 8 years,” said Rep. Meier. “This is exactly why I continue to advocate for better oversight and care of our developmentally disabled. If we don’t speak up and advocate for change, then who will? I won’t give up fighting for our most vulnerable.”

The Department of Human Services Act (Act) requires the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect that occur in mental health and developmental disability facilities operated by the Department of Human Services (DHS). The Act also requires the OIG to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect that occur in community agencies licensed, certified, or funded by DHS to provide mental health and developmental disability services.

In FY17, DHS operated 14 State facilities. For FY17, there were also a total of 421 community agencies with 4,552 program sites (i.e., CILAs, group homes, day programs, etc.) that were under the investigative jurisdiction of the OIG. This represents an increase of 1,079 program sites since our FY10 audit or 31 percent.

In this audit the Auditor General reported that:

• Total allegations of abuse and neglect reported to the OIG increased from 2,468 in FY10 to 3,698 in FY17 or 50 percent.

• The timeliness of completion for OIG investigations has deteriorated significantly since our FY10 audit. For FY10, 85 percent of closed cases were completed within the 60 working day requirement. For FY17, 50 percent of closed cases were completed within 60 working days.

• OIG case reports we reviewed generally were thorough, comprehensive, and addressed the allegation.

• The number of abuse and neglect investigations closed has increased substantially since FY10 (from 2,162 in FY10 to 3,601 in FY17); however, the substantiation rate has remained consistent. The substantiation rate for abuse and neglect investigations closed for FY10 was 12 percent, while it was 13 percent for FY17.

• DHS, in some cases, still takes an extended amount of time to receive and approve the actions taken by community agencies or State-operated facilities. For 4 of 20 investigations sampled (20%), the OIG could not provide an approved written response. These four investigations had been completed for an average of 180 days as of September 1, 2017, with a range of between 106 days to 289 days since the case was completed.

• The Quality Care Board did not have seven members during FY16 and FY17 as is required by the Act. In September 2017, a board member resigned leaving the Board with only three members. Four members are needed for a quorum.

• The OIG could not provide documentation to show that investigators had received the required initial training courses delineated in OIG Directives.

The audit of the Illinois Department of Human Services - Office of the Inspector General can be found here.

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