NDIS Commission launches legal action against Integrity Care over death of Ann Marie Smith

The body that oversees the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has taken legal action against the company responsible for supporting Ann Marie Smith, the Adelaide NDIS beneficiary who died in horrific circumstances.

Ms Smith died at her Adelaide home in April 2020, after being neglected by her carer.

This worker, Rosa Maria Maione, 70, was sentenced this month to six years in prison for the manslaughter of Ms Smith.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has now brought civil proceedings against Maione’s employer, Integrity Care (SA) Ltd.

The company had already been fined, had its registration revoked and banned from operating in the NDIS.

The NDIS also previously barred one of Integrity Care’s directors, Amy Collins, and Maione from operating under the program.

Ms Smith’s death sparked several investigations, including by South African police.(Provided: South African Police)

A separate former director of the company, Philip John Greenland, 57, faces charges of assaulting and intimidating a key witness in a police investigation into Ms Smith’s death.

“Ms Smith’s death is tragic and continues to shock and sadden many people across Australia,” said NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner Tracy Mackey.

Commission calls for financial sanctions

The NDIS Commission is seeking to impose financial penalties on Integrity Care and said its regulatory power allowed it to launch the civil suit in federal court.

“These powers include seeking civil penalties where a provider … has failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to the neglect and abuse of persons with disabilities, has failed to ensure the dignity of persons with disabilities, and ‘has not ensured a safe environment,’ the commission said.

In a document filed in Federal Court, the NDIS Commission accused Integrity Care of failing to meet a legal requirement “to provide supports and services in a safe and competent manner.”

A woman gets into a car as a television camera records her.
Rosa Maria Maione was imprisoned for the death of Ms Smith.(ABC News)

He also accused Integrity Care of failing “to take all reasonable steps to prevent all forms of neglect of persons with disabilities”.

Ms Smith was an NDIS participant at the time of her death, and the commission said she died in “appalling circumstances”.

The recent court case against Maione found the cause of death to be multiple organ failure due to an untreated pressure sore.

Ms Smith was also dehydrated and malnourished.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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