December 03,2020

Grassley, Wyden Issue Reports on Developmental Disability Care Facilities in Iowa and Oregon

Washington Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today issued two investigative reports regarding the performance and efficacy of providers REM Iowa and MENTOR Oregon, which receive significant federal funding through Medicaid to provide care for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD). Grassley’s report found that REM Iowa continues to suffer from recurring critical incidents and provides recommendations to remediate these problems. Wyden’s report found that despite increased scrutiny from its State regulator, a consistent pattern of substandard care persists by the direct care staff employed by MENTOR Oregon.
REM Iowa and MENTOR Oregon fall under the umbrella of The MENTOR Network and, as a whole, are responsible for ensuring that Iowans and Oregonians receive the highest quality care according to their individual needs.
“Any entity that receives taxpayers dollars, but especially those charged with caring for our fellow Americans who may have an intellectual disability, ought to be doing everything under the sun to ensure quality care and continually improve. I greatly respect the work of these caregivers, but REM Iowa can be doing more to improve its operations,” Grassley said.
“It is clear that too many vulnerable Americans and their loved ones who count on caregivers to provide a safe and healthy living environment are being let down by those in a position of trust,” Wyden said. “This report shines a light on key shortfalls by MENTOR Oregon in failing to meet standard of care for Oregonians they were entrusted to help. Tragically, reports of neglect and substandard care are far too common across the country – organizations that care for these individuals must do more to protect them.”
In April 2019, Chairman Grassley and Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) jointly began investigations of organizations in their home states that provide services to adults with I/DD. 
Grassley’s review of REM Iowa found that the company has had and continues to face problems, including failures to report abuse or neglect, failures to follow an individual’s particular care plan and failures to adhere to clients’ medication schedules. Grassley’s report makes three specific recommendations to REM Iowa: improve training practices for employees, improve access to data and establish a process to track and monitor critical incidents using electronic databases. Grassley’s report also recommends that the federal and state governments improve oversight, outreach and support for facilities facing systemic issues.
Wyden’s review of MENTOR Oregon found that despite increased scrutiny of the company—including a settlement agreement with the Oregon Department of Human Services, which required MENTOR Oregon to hire a new executive director, establish a 5-day new hire program to improve training, conduct a statewide footprint evaluation of its operations, and standardize its recordkeeping system—a consistent pattern of substandard care persists. The report identifies select residential facilities as case studies to illustrate this pattern and to shine a light on the difficult circumstances faced by this vulnerable adult population on a daily basis, especially during a national pandemic.

Full text of Grassley’s report can be found HERE. Full text of Wyden’s report can be found HERE. Supporting documents referenced in Appendix C of Wyden’s report can be found HERE. For additional documents provided by MENTOR Oregon, please click HERE. To view the company’s letter following the issuance of both reports, as well as the Committee’s official response, please click HERE.