CCDC is proud of our good friends at the law firm of Kilner, Lane, and Newman for their victory. Good policy changes and some reparations for the victims. NO EXCUSE for the state taking this long to settle and not addressing these problems earlier. We hope next time clients in state custody say that something bad happened that the clients will be believed. We thank attorney Mari Newman for persevering to bring justice to the individuals with Developmental Disabilities and thank the two Arc Chapters serving clients for helping with this necessary litigation.
the office press release is below
Date: August 9, 2018
Re: Case against State for searches of people with mental disabilities ends with payment of $1,000,000 and policy changes
Plaintiffs and defendants today announced they have reached a satisfactory resolution to a 2016 lawsuit filed in federal district court, case No. 1:17-cv-00067-PAB-CBS. The lawsuit was based on the physical searches in March 2015 of Pueblo Regional Center residents with mental disabilities. The lawsuit alleged that the searches were non-consensual, violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, and unlawfully discriminated against them based on their disabilities. The defendants denied that they committed any wrongdoing and maintained that the examinations were conducted in the interest of resident safety and were in response to concerns of underreporting of abuse and neglect. To resolve the case, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has agreed to pay a settlement to the plaintiffs that totals $1 million, including attorney’s fees and costs.
CDHS has made numerous policy changes at the Pueblo Regional Center pursuant to changes in policies and procedures recommended by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. These include: (1) a new Mistreatment Abuse Neglect and Exploitation (“MANE”) policy outlining how to report and address allegations of MANE; (2) removal of all blanket consent forms; (3) a new incident reporting policy; (4) development of a policy outlining resident rights; (5) Community Center Board (“CCB”) Human Rights Committee now reviews all rights suspensions, safety control/emergency control procedures, consents, and investigations; (6) all incidents are reported to the CCB and incidents of MANE are reported to law enforcement and Adult Protective Services (“APS”) as appropriate; (7) conducting daily multidisciplinary incident report review resulting in action plans for incidents and trends for the agency; (8) institution of monthly parent/guardian meetings; (9) educating parent/guardians on ways to file complaints; (10) implementing Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement (“QAPI”) committee; (11) providing leadership training for all new managers to be completed within the first year in their role; (12) direct care and nursing staff receive pay increases consistent with industry salary standards; (13) increase of staff, including 20 additional direct care staff positions; (14) reduction in staff working double shifts; and (15) institution of new lines of communication with staff, including monthly staff meetings and individual “stay” interviews.
Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP
The Odd Fellows Hall
1543 Champa Street, Suite 400
Denver, Colorado 80202
303-571-1000 (phone); 303-571-1001 (fax)