Audit Reveals Massachusetts Elder Affairs Office Neglected Proper Reporting of Abuse Cases to District Attorneys
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, responsible for supporting older adults and individuals with disabilities to age in their communities safely, has been criticized in a recent report by the Office of the State Auditor.
Despite the office's claims of implementing improvements following an earlier audit in 2018, State Auditor Diana DiZoglio highlighted persistent issues. The report revealed gaps in oversight, putting elders at risk due to the lack of controls and proper monitoring.
One major concern was the failure to ensure that all cases of elder abuse were reported to district attorneys' offices for investigation. The office neglected to use essential tools to assess the decisional capacity of elders properly, jeopardizing their safety and wasting taxpayer money. The audit identified seven instances where allegations of abuse were not reported correctly.
Families, like Kathy McLeod, who lost her brother due to a fall in a nursing home, have expressed frustration with the lack of assistance from state and local agencies. Despite reporting incidents to the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Department of Public Health, they received no help. Elder abuse encompasses physical, sexual, emotional abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and self-neglect.
In response to the audit, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs nthly reporting system. However, the auditor emphasized the need for effective and efficient reporting mechanisms to ensure the safety of the elderly population.
If you need to report elder abuse in assisted living facilities, you can do so online or by phone at (800) 922-2275, available 24/7. For abuse by nursing home or hospital staff, contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at (800) 462-5540.