Governor Ducey Issues Executive Order Strengthening Protections For People With Disabilities

News Release

February 6, 2019

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today issued an executive order directing the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Department of Economic Security (DES) to strengthen protections for people with disabilities.

The Executive Order requires AHCCCS, ADHS and DES to develop protocols on preventing, recognizing and reporting abuse and neglect for both care providers and parents or guardians of individuals with disabilities. The order also requires staff with direct contact to patients with disabilities to undergo annual training in abuse prevention. Additionally, AHCCCS, DHS, and DES will convene a working group to consider further actions to improve care for Arizona’s most vulnerable populations.

“All Arizonans deserve to be safe — and we have a special responsibility to protect those with disabilities,” said Governor Ducey. “This executive order provides increased accountability and stricter oversight, ensuring our most vulnerable are safe and protected. There’s more that needs to be done to ensure Arizona is guarding against abuse and neglect. We will continue working with all stakeholders to take additional action, and hold bad actors accountable, to guarantee the highest quality of care and protection for Arizonans with disabilities.”

Yesterday, Governor Ducey sent a letter to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich requesting the Attorney General look into potential criminal actions at Hacienda HealthCare. Read the letter HERE.

View a PDF of the proclamation HERE.

View text of the proclamation below.

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WHEREAS all Arizonans deserve to be safe wherever they reside;

WHEREAS vulnerable populations including individuals with disabilities are at increased risk of abuse and exploitation;

WHEREAS the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey found that individuals with disabilities are three times more likely to be victims of violent crime;

WHEREAS individuals with intellectual disabilities are seven times more likely to be sexually assaulted;

WHEREAS these statistics underscore the need for heightened protections for individuals with disabilities living in group homes, intermediate care facilities, and other residential settings.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Douglas A. Ducey, Governor of the State of Arizona, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Arizona hereby order as follows:

  1. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), and the Department of Economic Security (DES), in conjunction with disability advocates, shall review current protocols and jointly develop training on preventing abuse and neglect, recognizing the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect, and reporting abuse and neglect for both providers for people with disabilities and for parents and guardians.
  2. AHCCCS, DHS, and DES shall ensure that all state contracts related to the care of individuals with disabilities include a requirement that all staff, contractors, and vendors who have direct interaction with members with disabilities shall annually undergo training in preventing, recognizing, and reporting abuse and neglect.
  3. AHCCCS, DHS, and DES shall ensure that all state contracts for residential, group homes and day programs for individuals with disabilities include a requirement for the prominent posting of signage which includes department approved language on how to report abuse and neglect.
  4. AHCCCS, DHS, and DES shall ensure that all state contracts related to the care of individuals with disabilities include a requirement that a check of the Adult Protective Services Registry before someone is hired.
  5. AHCCCS, DHS, and DES shall convene a working group that includes individuals with disabilities, disability advocacy organizations, providers, and family members. This workgroup shall consider additional steps that can be taken to protect and improve care for individuals with disabilities and shall make recommendations and submit a report to the Governor’s office by November 1, 2019.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Arizona.

GOVERNOR

DONE at the Capitol in Phoenix on this 6th day of February in the year Two Thousand and Nineteen and of the Independence of the United States of America the Two Hundred and Forty-Third.

ATTEST:

SECRETARY OF STATE