Newsroom > DHHS News Release


June 18, 2008

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287,


DHHS Ending Contract with Autism Center of Nebraska

Lincoln – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) announced today that it is terminating its contract with the Autism Center of Nebraska (ACN) in Omaha. Developmental Disabilities Division Director John Wyvill said the department will work to recover over a quarter of a million dollars.

"We responded to a complaint about ACN’s spending practices, performed a preliminary investigation, and contacted the State Auditor’s office to conduct a more thorough evaluation," said John Wyvill. "I rely on and appreciate the expertise that the State Auditor’s staff brought to the investigation."

Wyvill said his first priority was to determine the safety and welfare of individuals being served. In addition to ensuring that quality services are provided, DHHS has an equal fiscal responsibility to tax payers. DHHS will focus on ensuring a smooth transition so that individuals continue to receive services and on recovering more than $226,000 from ACN.

"The audit report speaks for itself," Wyvill said.

Between June, 2007 and April, 2008 ACN billed DHHS $2.3 million to provide developmental disability services. ACN currently serves approximately 65 individuals.

DHHS contracts with 33 public and private community-based providers at 70 area programs to serve approximately 4,500 people with developmental disabilities statewide.

As the Department’s first anniversary of the reorganization created by LB 296 in 2007 approaches, Wyvill called this a great example of what the focus on enhanced accountability can achieve.