Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a broad plan on Monday to conduct in-person wellness checks on the thousands of adults who get services through New Mexico’s Developmental Disabilities Waiver program. The interviews, which began last week, have already begun to uncover further instances of possible abuse.
The statement followed the serious injury of a client with developmental disabilities while under the care of a service provider. Although the client’s injuries aren’t fully known to the public, Gov. Lujan Grisham described them as “horrific” last week during a news conference.
The state Department of Health cancelled the contracts of four agencies that cared for the client as part of the waiver program, which allows people to receive various types of services in the community, two weeks ago. The initiatives, which are supported by both state and federal funds, are meant to serve as an alternative to institutional care.
Lujan Grisham stated that the Department of Health and other state personnel intend to visit with all of the approximately 6,000 adults who receive treatment under a DD waiver program within a month. Regarding wellness checks, about 1,000 people have already been called.
About 700 adults were receiving care from those providers. The contractors are currently working to place those clients with other providers, said Department of Health Secretary Patrick Allen.
“The uncomfortable truth is that being disabled makes someone more vulnerable to abuse,” Allen said. Unfortunately, statistics also show this. The National Crime Victim Survey indicated in 2008 that disabled people experience greater rates of violence than those without disabilities. Sadly, the survey also found that victimization is twice as high for people with disabilities.
Everybody deserves to live in the community. There is no excuse for abusing, neglecting, or killing disabled people. Everybody deserves to live a life free from abuse and neglect.
Boetel, Ryan. “’Shocking and Intolerable’: In Wake of Client Injury, State to Do Wellness Checks within DD Program.” Albuquerque Journal, Journal Publishing Company, 20 Mar. 2023, https://www.abqjournal.com/2583528/after-client-injured-state-plans-review-of-thousands-on-developmental-disabilities-waivers.html?utm_source=Albuquerque%2BJou&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily&utm_edition=202303211206.
Rand, Michael, and Erika Harrell. “Crime against people with disabilities, 2008.” (2010).