DHHS response to Disability Law Center complaint

Salt Lake City — There are multiple points where the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) agrees with the concerns raised by the Disability Law Center (DLC).  We abhor the abuse or neglect of any individual in our state.  We agree that individuals should get the services they need in safe and healthy environments.  We agree that providers who fail to adequately care for individuals in their services need to improve that care or lose their license.

Our department envisions a day when ALL Utahns have fair and equitable opportunities to live safe and healthy lives. This is why we get up in the morning. We hope for a better future for those we serve, and we work to cultivate hope in each of them. 

This is hard work. Our Division of Licensing and Background Checks (DLBC) and Office of Service Review (OSR) work to keep Utahns who are in any of the 9,900 facilities we regulate safe and healthy. That’s a tall order. Every day, our DLBC staff works to make sure medical, human services, and child care facilities and programs are safe and healthy. When providers want to comply, we help them get to compliance. When they are not willing to comply, we impose penalties and restrictions, and we revoke licenses. 

A few examples from recent years:

  • Primary Supports Services contract was terminated and licenses/certifications revoked in September 2023.
  • Future Rising’s contract was terminated and licenses/certifications revoked in May 2024.
  • Highland Ridge chose to close rather than come in compliance with strict sanctions in 2024.
  • We have publicly available lists of sanctions and agency actions for licensed health, child care, and human services in Utah.

We have implemented several new tools that help us bring providers into compliance:

  • DLBC has a publicly available noncompliance process that clearly outlines what facility misconduct would merit DHHS taking more stringent measures, up to and including licensing revocation.
  • DLBC has worked with the Utah Legislature to update the licensing statute. Now DLBC can issue civil money penalties of up to $10,000 uniformly across all facility license types.

And our work is not done. DHHS strives to continuously improve the quality of our services, and our management. 

DHHS has a statutory role to protect Utahns AND a statutory duty to ensure services are available for them. So there are serious concerns when Utah has fewer facilities to provide needed services for vulnerable people. Utah DHHS cooperates and engages with partners on all levels who will help move the work of building and protecting people forward. 

In the past two years, DHHS has undergone a transformation. The merger of the Department of Human Services and the Department of Health was not meant to keep the status quo. It was meant to create stronger internal partnerships so we could have consistent and transparent processes, better outcomes for individuals, and more efficient systems. Our single licensing entity, DLBC, now has better insight and is more able to identify problems than before. 

These are processes and transformations that take time. For some, it will never feel fast enough, but as a human services system, we need to take the time to get this right. 

For people seeking to make a complaint about conditions in a provider facility or program, please visit our complaint portal. It’s the fastest way to get a complaint to our investigations team.

If you have a general concern or question please contact our constituent services at 801-538-4580 or  [email protected].