DRM conducts investigations for two reasons:
A preliminary investigation is done to gather information necessary to make an informed decision about whether to provide direct advocacy representation. All potential cases are investigated first before a commitment is made to provide direct representation. Information gathering may include talking to people on both sides of the issue presented, reviewing records, consulting with experts, conducting legal research and reviewing legal theories and other activities.
Abuse and Neglect Investigations
An abuse or neglect investigation is done to determine whether abuse and/or neglect of one or more clients has occurred or is occurring. These investigations can lead to filing complaints with the Office of Recipient Rights, licensing entities, accreditation bodies, police, or other investigative agencies. Investigations may also lead to systemic activities such as legal, legislative or media actions, issuing a public report, or a broader investigation.
DRM staff regularly monitor facilities and other places where people with disabilities live or receive services. This may include psychiatric hospitals/units, group homes, nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, jails, prisons, juvenile justice facilities, child caring institutions, and schools. We monitor to address abuse or neglect, to ensure services are provided, and to help ensure discharge planning. Federal access authority provides P&As with unannounced, unimpeded authority to conduct a monitoring visit. Depending on the situation, monitoring may involve interviewing individuals with disabilities and staff in those settings, observing and evaluating the physical conditions of the setting, and accessing and reviewing records.
DRM is independent of service providers. Our authorizing Federal laws provide vital legal authority allowing DRM access to individuals with disabilities and the facilities and other locations where they receive services. In some circumstances, DRM has access to individual and facility records, including investigation reports and peer review records.