Newsroom > DHHS News Release


March 6, 2008

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


DHHS Taking Next Steps at BSDC

Lincoln – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is making additional changes at the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC) based on a recent federal review.

"Our first concern is for the safety and quality of life for our clients," said John Wyvill, director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities in DHHS. "We’re continuing to ‘right size’ BSDC to resolve ongoing staffing challenges, and we’ve hired experts from Liberty Healthcare, Inc. to jump-start the changes.

This week, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) reviewed BSDC’s compliance with the plan of correction, which was approved after a November 2007 survey. During CMS’ recent revisit, they again found BSDC to be out of compliance with some conditions, meaning BSDC would face a termination of federal funding on March 7. The Department appealed this action."

"We believe there’s always room for improvement and appreciate CMS’ review, but that doesn’t mean we agree with their findings," said Wyvill. "We want to work collaboratively with CMS but will litigate if necessary. We have filed an appeal and are moving forward with it."

CMS said the facility did not pass four of eight conditions for participation for Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Mental Retardation (ICF/MR). CMS also issued three Immediate Jeopardies, which were all abated or withdrawn before surveyors left, based on BSDC’s changes to correct the situations.

Wyvill said the facility has made a good faith effort during the past 90 days in the best interest of the people served at BSDC and believes it is in substantial compliance with the federal standards. The $28.6 million in federal funding will continue during the appeal process.

"Since getting the CMS termination letter in December, we’ve taken a 180 degree turn," Wyvill said. "However, the latest survey validates our decision to ‘right size’ BSDC and serve fewer people to address ongoing staffing shortages. Right now the goal is to reduce the census by 100 people by January 2009."

Steps DHHS is taking include:

  • ‘Right sizing’ to find placements in community programs or other services when appropriate.
  • Eliminating the on-campus hospital by May 1. Hospital costs are $1.9 million a year.
  • Closing two living units, moving those clients into other living units.
  • Issuing a Request for Information for high level professional organizations to provide onsite consulting, training services and leadership to attain and maintain compliance with CMS conditions.
  • Bringing in Liberty Healthcare, national experts who have over 25 years of experience with Joint Commission accreditation, CMS standards, and other regulatory bodies and has participated in many other surveys and subsequent corrective action plans.
  • Changing the senior leadership structure to focus on increased active treatment, residential housing and quality improvement.

Between three and 14 Liberty Healthcare staff have been onsite at BSDC every day for the past six weeks. These management professionals have extensive experience in day-to-day provision of quality care in an ICF/MR environment.

In December 2007 the BSDC census was at 329 clients. Today, because of efforts to right size, there are 308 clients.

The eight conditions for participation for ICF/MRs are: Client Behavior, Health Services, Physical Environment, Dietary Services, Client Protections, Facility Staffing, Active Treatment Services, and Governing Body and Management.