A New York advocacy group for the disabled on Monday blasted Woods Services Inc. for abuse and neglect at the nonprofit's Langhorne facility housing more than 650 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Disability Rights New York (DRNY) alleged in its 26-page report that all of Woods' "facilities and programs have serious and troubling deficiencies. Accordingly, individuals with disabilities at Woods are at risk of serious injury, death, psychological harm, and trauma."
DRNY got involved because 111 New Yorkers were living at Woods a year ago. The facility has residents ranging in age from 5 to 80. They come from 31 states and Washington, according to the report, which has been sent to regulatory authorities in New York.
Woods "categorically" rejected the DRNY report.
"It is an attempt to advance a particular agenda, and their report is filled with allegations that are untruths, exaggerations, missing critical facts, and defamatory," Woods said in a statement. "It is in sharp contrast to the feedback of the individuals we serve and their families and approximately 60 inspections that are conducted here annually by licensing agencies, funders and regulatory partners for which we consistently meet or exceed requirements."
However, DRNY said it interviewed at least 25 residents and 25 additional family members. It also reviewed Woods' resident records and all state records for allegations of abuse and neglect of New York residents between 2014 and October 2016.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services said it was aware of the DRNY report and was reviewing it. "Once the review has been completed, the department will provide further comment," officials said.
Officials in New Jersey, which also relies heavily on Woods, did not respond to requests for comment. Disability Rights Pennsylvania and Disability Rights New Jersey participated in the investigation, but did not provide comments.
Woods Resources Inc., the parent of Woods Services and several affiliates, had $208.8 million in revenue in the year ended June 30, 2016, the latest year available.
Major problems uncovered in the investigation, which started in June 2016, included the illegal use of physical restraints, the absence of positive behavioral interventions and plans, retaliation against residents and family members who complain, and improper reporting and investigation of abuse and neglect incidents, DRNY said.
In one incident last November, a person was restrained on the floor by six staff members, twice the number allowed under New York regulations. Under certain clinically justified circumstances, four staffers may restrain an individual, DRNY said.
The investigation found multiple assaults of residents by staff members, including an incident in February.
"The amount of unreported abuse is over the top, but that is not even to be compared to the amount of abuse that gets reported, and management makes it go away to avoid dealing with it," a current Woods staff member said, according to the report. "Those clients are going to be leaving [Woods] with more issues than they had when the[y] entered."