NY State Caregivers Keep Jobs Despite Abuse

Probe uncovers incidents involving the mentally disabled
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 19, 2011 4:43 PM CDT

(Newser) – At New York state homes for the mentally disabled, firings are rare—even when caregivers abuse or neglect patients, the Poughkeepsie Journal reports. Of the state’s 20 attempted firings across some dozen facilities since 2007, 18 were unsuccessful; only 2% of disciplinary cases at more than 100 facilities led to termination. Reviewing hundreds of pages of disciplinary matters, the Journal reveals an array of disturbing cases of misconduct after which employees retained their jobs.

One employee is said to have held a patient by the hair as she forced the patient to sip an “unidentified substance”; another faced assault charges for reportedly kneeling on and grabbing at a patient; others allowed patients to sit in their own urine or brought drug paraphernalia into work. All kept their jobs. Another resigned but received months of pay and a “neutral reference” after sexually assaulting a patient. In many cases, the state settled discipline issues out of court. State officials say they plan to inflict stronger penalties and train arbitrators. Click here for the full investigation.

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