The state Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities announced today that it has made a number of reforms to help advocate for and protect disabled New Yorkers. They include providing wider dissemination of the commission’s reports, finding and recommendations as well as more detailed information; targeting investigations of abuse and neglect allegations by using data analysis to identify trends and patterns of types of incidents and facilities where abuse and neglect appear to be most prevalent; and improving customer service.
“The changes I have made are designed to return the Commission to an effective role as the State’s independent watchdog for overseeing the care and treatment of New Yorkers with disabilities,” Roger Beardon, chairman of the commission, said in a statement. “The Commission is greatly strengthening its ability to detect and analyze systemic problems and to widely publicize the results of its work.”
The commission oversees the operations of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
Bearden said the changes follow a thorough review of the agency’s operations over the past several months, with the goal of increasing the impact and effectiveness of its oversight role; establishing direct access to the incident-management systems of the agencies it oversees; using more sophisticated methods of analyzing data to improve targeting of investigations, increasing outreach and customer service, and expanding the commission’s involvement in policy development.
Bearden collaborated on the reforms with Clarence Sundram, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s special adviser on programs and services for people with disabilities. Sundram plans to present his recommendations on how to improve the system soon.
The commission’s customer-service improvements include a new internal data system to track inquiries and ensure helpful service, a customer-satisfaction policy that allows people to provide feedback and file a formal grievance, if necessary. The toll-free number for the commission is 800-624-4143.
Other responsibilities of the commission include investigating the cost effectiveness of agency programs and procedures, Medicaid and Medicare mismanagement and theft, and provider financial abuse of people with disabilities served.