Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
August 4, 2015

Contact Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356, leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov

DHHS Announces End of BSDC Oversight as Progress Continues
New leadership continues to move agency forward

Lincoln—The United States District Court for the District of Nebraska granted a motion to end federal court oversight of the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC). This announcement marks continued progress for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services under new leadership.
 
“We’re pleased the U.S. Department of Justice recognizes the state’s commitment to improving services for people with developmental disabilities in Nebraska and the progress that has been made,” said Courtney Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of DHHS. “We’ll continue to work hard to ensure individuals are being served in supportive and safe environments.”

According to court documents jointly filed by DHHS and the U.S. Department of Justice: “This memorandum outlines a success story, where the state has implemented reforms that have transformed its service delivery system for  people with developmental disabilities, greatly expanded/enhanced community capacity, minimized reliance on institutional services and generally improved outcomes for people with DD.”
 
The court’s decision terminates a 2008 settlement agreement that followed a period of challenges in BSDC history which included on-site reviews of BSDC by the U.S. Department of Justice and Disability Rights Nebraska and the loss of Medicaid certification and funding. BSDC has previously been recertified and is once again eligible for Medicaid funding.
 
An independent expert was appointed to monitor improvements at BSDC.
According to the executive summary in the expert’s final report, since signing the settlement agreement with U.S. Department of Justice, the state has shown its commitment to implementing the requirements of the agreement and states, in part:  “These actions have resulted in many improvements that have positively impacted the protections, supports and services available to individuals at BSDC and the Bridges Program, as well as those individuals that transitioned to the community…The achievement of these goals has only been possible through strong teamwork and the dedication of many staff.”
 
“I want to thank our DHHS team and everyone else who contributed to this success – those who are still with us and those who have shown dedicated service to BSDC in past years,” said Phillips.
 
Working together, the Governor and the Legislature provided funding to help support efforts to improve BSDC and community services. Improvements ultimately required complete restructuring of the organization and management of BSDC which included transitioning almost 150 residents into community settings and changing from one large facility to five smaller Intermediate Care Facilities, with full federal recertification and funding restored at all facilities.
 
Recruitment efforts for clinical professionals, including psychiatric services, have been successful and clinicians are now available to consult with community-based providers as well.  Staff ratios and training have significantly improved.  Individuals living at BSDC are working and volunteering in the community at significantly increased rates. A comprehensive quality improvement system has been developed and implemented to ensure the sustainability of progress achieved.


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Note: For court documents contact leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov