Auditor Finds Deficiencies in EOEA Systems to Protect Elders from Abuse, Neglect

BOSTON State Auditor Diana DiZoglio’s office released an audit report of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA), which reviewed the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021. The current audit followed up on deficiencies found in a 2018 audit, completed under the previous administration.

DiZoglio noted that EOEA still does not perform monthly checks of the Adult Protective Services system and is therefore unable to ensure all incidents of alleged elder abuse are referred to DAs’ offices, as required by law. In addition, EOEA does not monitor the use of the Interview for Decisional Abilities Tool to ensure proper assessment of the decision-making capacity of elders. These gaps in assessment and monitoring can put elders at risk of continued abuse.

The audit team also found that EOEA did not update its internal control plan to account for impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on operations and did not always ensure that employees who had access to COVID-19 funds completed cybersecurity-awareness training. These deficiencies can put EOEA at higher risk of financial and/or reputational losses and cybersecurity attacks.

 “While leadership at the Office of Elder Affairs, under the prior administration, claimed they were implementing our office’s recommendations to update their processes for screening, investigating, documenting, and reporting incidents of elder abuse, they did not in fact do so,” DiZoglio said. “It’s unacceptable that elders have continued to be put at risk due to a lack of responsive action, and we are hopeful that, under this new administration, EOEA leadership will implement these important recommendations.”