Newsroom > DHHS News Release

June 2, 2010

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

Readiness Survey and Independent Expert Point to Progress at BSDC

Lincoln – Two recent reviews of compliance with federal regulations and agreements show that progress is being made at the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Last week, at the request of DHHS’ Division of Developmental Disabilities, a consulting team from California, H&W Independent Solutions (H&W), conducted a survey at BSDC gauging readiness for federal recertification.

“The team noted that progress continues to be made in some of the more challenging compliance areas, and other areas identified as needing improvement could be easily corrected,” said Dan Howell, CEO of BSDC. “H&W’s assessment concluded that recertification is achievable within the next year, which is very good news.”

On Tuesday, June 1, the Division received the latest quarterly report from the Independent Expert appointed to review and report on the State’s implementation and compliance with the Settlement Agreement entered into with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The report’s Executive Summary recognizes the positive practices already in place, the areas in initial stages of development, and the areas where improvements are still needed. Most importantly, the report acknowledges that a stable management team is in place that has the ability and skills needed to implement the required changes.

Included among multiple, positive practices the Monitoring Team observed was progress in reducing restraint use, dramatic decreases in the use of locum tenens for provision of medical services, increased access to the community, and improved quality of life of individuals served at BSDC.

“We appreciate the DOJ Monitoring Team’s thoroughness and professionalism and agree with the majority of its observations, critiques, and proposed recommendations,” said Jodi Fenner, Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities. “For the first time, the report provides a clear road map and reflects a genuine collaboration between the Division and DOJ, aimed at achieving the Settlement Agreement’s outcomes, which will ensure the safety and well-being of the individuals we serve.”

The 130-page quarterly report is the first report from newly appointed Independent Expert Maria Laurence and thoroughly details the Monitoring Team’s baseline findings following an on-site review at BSDC in early March. The report provides concrete recommendations, expectations, and suggested strategies for achieving compliance.

The report has been shared with the Legislature’s Developmental Disabilities Special Investigative Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee.