KXAN investigation into unreported abuse at assisted living centers results in new law

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A year and a half long KXAN investigation resulted in a change in Texas law. KXAN uncovered how the state agency responsible for protecting elderly patients at assisted living facilities did not do its job and broke the law by not reporting 78 percent of abuse allegations to law enforcement.

A local lawmaker saw our original report and promised to help with legislation. This week Gov. Greg Abbott signed his bill into law.

The investigation started with allegations that a male resident of an Austin assisted living facility sexually assaulted a woman there who had dementia and a court ordered guardianship in place.  The investigator didn’t take note of her guardianship order which stated she could not make decisions on her own.

But the new law, which was authored by State Rep. Elliott Naishtat and goes into effect Sept. 1, requires facilities to keep guardianship orders on file and also requires investigators at the Department of Aging and Disability Services to check for that document before completing their investigation.

“I promise you that the agency will be following up on this and making sure that the new law is complied with,” Naishtat told KXAN.

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