Texas Agency Not Conducting Background Checks on Caregivers

Trust between seniors and caregivers is essential for beneficial home health care, and laws require home health providers to monitor and vet their aides. However, reports have emerged that the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), the government agency responsible for tracking caregiver background checks, has been deliberately falsifying and backdating documentation, KXAN, an Austin-based news outlet, reported.

Jennifer Crampton, a former DADS employee, has filed a lawsuit against the agency for mismanaging evaluations of home health care agencies and their workers. The lawsuit state that she and other DADS workers were told by a supervisor not to conduct proper background checks, and to falsify and backdate documents. Crampton said that when she complained to the agency about this conduct, she was fired, according to KXAN.

“We’re getting paid. Our tax money is paying us to make sure [seniors] are well taken care of—some of them aren’t,” Crampton told KXAN. “There are some [who] are in jeopardy, that are not being taken care of properly.”

DADS responded to Crampton’s lawsuit, stating that the agency is immune from lawsuits, and cannot be sued by the former employee. The response failed to address any of the allegations.

This is not the first time that KXAN has explored accusations of negligence against DADS. In 2014, KXAN investigated a case of alleged sexual abuse at Longhorn Village, an assisted living community in Austin. When the situation was finally reported to DADS by a nurse, the agency’s investigation was not conducted lawfully. DADS failed to report the allegation to law enforcement, as required by law, and did not reach out to the family for interviews, per the agency’s policy. Ultimately, DADS Spokesperson Cecilia Cavuto admitted to KXAN that the investigation was a “failure.”

Written by Elizabeth Jakaitis

Elizabeth Jakaitis