Smith Inquiry Brings Reform for Autistic Community
State Senator Malcolm Smith has announced that the State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) has concluded its investigation into Quality Services for Autism Community (QSAC).
Senator Smith called for an investigation in an October 23, 2003 letter, after a hearing held by representatives of the Quality Care Advocates for the Rights of Employees (QCARE) and the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) revealed serious allegations regarding the quality of care provided to residents.
"There comes a time when public officials have to step in when they learn of disturbing complaints against a facility. This was one of those times," Senator Smith said.
In a letter dated January 2, OMRDD Commissioner Thomas Maul told Senator Smith that QSAC’s "board members are taking the findings seriously, and the agency had already begun taking steps to correct the identified deficiencies and to improve communication with the agency’s staff."
The OMRDD investigation noted that while not all of the allegations were substantiated, two of QSAC’s residential programs and one of its day programs were found to be deficient.
Maul also stated that his office "will visit QSAC’s programs to verify that all promised corrections are indeed implemented," and that the agency will continue to be monitored by OMRDD staff.
"When it comes to citizens who are highly vulnerable, it is extremely important that we do everything in our power to ensure that these people are receiving the services they deserve," Senator Smith said. "I am hopeful and confident that QSAC will take immediate action to correct its deficiencies, and that we will all learn that the care of these individuals is truly what is important."
Commissioner Maul noted that the investigation included a review of documentation, extensive interviews with QSAC staff and observations of programs.
"I am pleased that I could help facilitate improvements at QSAC. What’s more, I would like to thank Commissioner Maul for his efficient and rapid response to the concerns expressed to me and other elected officials," Senator Smith Concluded.