Newsroom > DHHS News Release


February 2, 2009, 9:30 a.m. CT

Kathie Osterman, 402-471-9313,


Chief Medical Officer Limits BSDC License in Response to Investigation

Lincoln, NE - Dr. Joann Schaefer, Nebraska’s Chief Medical Officer, today issued an order limiting the license for the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC). The order prevents the facility from caring for medically fragile residents.

In limiting the license of BSDC, Schaefer ordered that “medically fragile” residents be transported to a Lincoln or Omaha hospital by 5 p.m. on Feb. 6. The order will affect an estimated 35 to 40 residents.

“It is my medical opinion that BSDC can no longer care for individuals with complex medical needs,” Dr. Schaefer said. “Because of this, I am ordering additional nursing staff to be at the facility around the clock and the removal of any resident deemed medically fragile in order to ensure their safety.”

The orders are the result of an investigation conducted by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Regulation and Licensure Unit. In addition, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services issued an immediate jeopardy for the facility based on the findings of state investigators. The immediate jeopardy cites a failure to provide adequate care to a resident in need of emergency assistance.

Gov. Dave Heineman was informed of the orders over the weekend and directed a team of DHHS and BSDC leaders to coordinate the removal of all medically fragile residents. Officials are notifying families and guardians of the relocation order and making arrangements for safe transportation to private hospitals in the coming days.

Gov. Heineman said, “In Dr. Schaefer’s medical opinion and according to state statute, these medically fragile residents may be in imminent danger of death or serious physical harm. This is a very serious situation and I am in full and complete support of her actions.”

State Statute 71-446 gives the chief medical officer the authority to temporarily suspend or limit the license of Nebraska health care facilities and order the removal of at-risk individuals.

The order does not impact care being provided to other BSDC residents. The facility will continue to provide residential care and treatment for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Medically fragile individuals are those with developmental disabilities and additional complications such as seizure disorders, diabetes or other medical conditions requiring intensive monitoring and care, and/or the response to a complication emergency. Medically fragile residents make up less than 20 percent of the current BSDC population.

Hospitals expected to receive BSDC residents include Bryan/LGH and St. Elizabeth hospitals in Lincoln, as well as Creighton University Medical Center, The Nebraska Medical Center and Alegent Health Systems.