Employee Profile: Curtis Roy
April is Autism Awareness Month, and on April 2nd, individuals worldwide come together to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and raise awareness about autistic individuals throughout the world. For Curtis Roy, Regional Inspector General for OIG’s Office of Audit Services (OAS), Autism Awareness is a daily part of his job, through his work preventing patient abuse and fraud in group homes of people with disabilities at HHS-OIG.
Curtis began his federal government career in 1986 and joined OIG in Spring of 1989. He oversees the New England region, and he assisted in conducting audits to detect neglect and potential abuse in nursing facilities and group homes.
Curtis explains how his career of auditing group homes began: with a letter from Senator Christopher Murphy of Connecticut. The letter expressed concern about the treatment, abuse, and neglect of people with developmental disabilities. “There was an exposé on CNN about a group home where people were videotaped abusing the residents,” Curtis recalls. “Group homes were not operating as they should have been, and in this respect, they were not reporting to the State.”
As a result, Curtis and his team began working with various states –the first being Connecticut. The findings of that audit prompted a further look into the operation of group homes in other areas, which showed that abuse was very prevalent. “The abuse was so bad that we decided to expand [our audits] to other states,” says Curtis.
Improvements needed to be made in these facilities which is outlined in the reports under recommendations. Some of those recommendations included:
- data analysis, where they are pulling claims out of the Medicaid claims processing systems,
- looking for certain diagnosis codes, and
- continued follow-ups.
“But we're seeing improvement in the New England region. It’s good to feel that our reports did make a difference and that some of the horrible situations that we saw before aren't continuing to happen,” Curtis says.
OIG has built a portfolio in audits to investigate work related to group homes and people with disabilities who have experienced abuse and neglect, resulting sometimes in death. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 36 children in the United States are affected by autism. There are many subtypes, which can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support. At times, people with developmental disabilities are at a higher risk of abuse and neglect that often goes unreported.
In assuring the health and wellness of all individuals with disabilities, it takes the help of the public in reporting such abuse. “If you have to think, is that reportable or not, then you should just go ahead and report it,” Curtis explains.
When asked what his proudest accomplishments are in working with OAS and protecting the care of people with disabilities, he concludes: the construction of OIG resource guides, the joint report on best practices document, and the implementation of immediate protective service orders which consists of in-person visits to the facilities to see how they are being ran. “You could see that our work had an immediate positive affect, so obviously I'm very proud of that.”