Newsroom > DHHS News Release

July 1, 2009

Kathie Osterman, Communications and Legislative Services, or 402-471-9313


Independent Expert's Report on BSDC Received

Lincoln - John McGee, the independent expert hired as part of the settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services regarding the Beatrice State Developmental Center, issued his second quarterly compliance report on Wednesday, according to DHHS.

"I'm still reviewing the specific findings, but I know the public is interested in our actions regarding BSDC," said Jodi Fenner, DHHS legal counsel. "It's important for us to be open and transparent regarding our efforts to improve services at BSDC and for our clients as they move into the community."

Fenner will take over the reigns of the DHHS Division of Developmental Disabilities on an interim basis beginning July 3. The division includes BSDC.

"I believe that overall, the report shows progress is being made but that more work must be done to be where we ultimately need to be," said Fenner. "Our goal is to continue moving forward so we can be in compliance with both DOJ and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements."

Progress highlighted by the report includes:

  • DHHS showed leadership, creativity, and courage in following the February 2, 2009, Public Health order regarding medically fragile residents. Placements into area hospitals were arranged almost overnight and after a few days the State installed needed services.
  • DHHS is reconfiguring the BSDC management team and conducting a nationwide search for a new director at BSDC.
  • DHHS has engaged a consulting firm to conduct comprehensive assessments of 200 individuals related to their current needs, which will help guide the State in meeting DOJ's Settlement Agreement mandates.
  • DHHS has initiated a plan to develop new community living options for people moving out of BSDC, with a special focus on residents with medical needs.
  • DHHS is coordinating with CMS to access available funding for residents transitioning to the community which, if accomplished, would improve the quality of programs, services, supports and safeguards offered to individuals living in the community.
  • DHHS has initiated a focus on coordinating the possibility of community placements in existing programs by identifying existing community vacancies, and having service coordinators and providers working together to make appropriate placements. These actions should improve the quality and efficiency of community placements for positive outcomes.
  • The State has approved a $17 million budget increase for community programs over the next three years.
  • DHHS has focused work of the community-based Service Coordinators on increased reaching out to families and providers on a frequent basis to arrange for visits and to secure community supports for medically fragile residents.