Lubbock State Supported Living Center seeks to fix noncompliance

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A new report shows Lubbock's State Supported Living Center, formerly known as the Lubbock State School, is overwhelmingly noncompliant with safety and health provisions, only meeting requirements of 37 areas out of the 171.

The facility has 211 residents who all have some sort of intellectual disability. In addition, many require medical attention from physical disabilities and mental health problems.

Back in 2009, the facility became the center of an abuse and neglect investigation that led to an inquiry across the state into other similar facilities.

As a result, the Department of Justice made a settlement with the State of Texas that set guidelines for these facilities to gradually reach 100% compliance over the next 4 to 5 years with evaluations done every 6 months.

In 2009, Lubbock's facility was only at 20% compliance and the latest report reveals that in 4 years they've only improved to 23%. However, there were 73 areas that did show improvement.

According to Cecilia Cavuto, press secretary for the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities, because of strict reporting requirements for abuse or neglect, the state expects several minor infractions. They closely evaluate if the allegation can truly be substantiated.

The 538 page report shows from January 1, 2011 to August 15, 2012 there 202 allegations of physical abuse, but only 50 were substantiated and 28 were inconclusive. There were also 188 allegations of neglect with 83 of those confirmed and 5 inconclusive.

The report notes that a significant area of improvement is the use of less intrusive methods to restrain patients. The report also says the "leadership and staff are to be strongly commended once again for their commitment to zero tolerance of abuse and neglect."

While there were several areas of improvements, many still did not reach compliance. Supervising attorney Beth Mitchell with the Disability Rights of Texas advocacy group says lack of progress over the years is simply unacceptable.

"One of the big concerns is medications not being passed out properly and people are not getting their medications. That could lead to disastrous results. There were also reports involving feeding tube not being placed or use properly," Mitchell said. "I mean, these should be very big concerns. These are people who can't speak out mostly for themselves and are really dependent on the care of other people."

Mitchell also says the report shows some areas regressed rather than stayed the same or improve.

There are no penalties for not reaching compliance by the end of the year but Cavuto says they are working very diligently to fix the issues.

"Our top priority is to make sure our residents are receiving their services in a safe environment. We are not going to relax on any effort to make sure that they are not being abused or neglected," said. "Our goal is to fix the system long term."

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