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State To Pay $1.1 Million A Month To Save Troubled Institution
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 14, 2005

SOMERSET, KENTUCKY--An independent company hired to correct abuse and neglect problems at Communities of Oakwood will cost Kentucky an estimated $9 million over an eight-month period.

That's more than three times the amount state officials had told lawmakers, the Courier-Journal reported Tuesday.

Liberty Healthcare Corp. of Philadelphia was brought in on November 1 to manage the state's largest institution, which houses about 300 people with intellectual disabilities.

State inspectors have issued their most serious "Type A" citation to Oakwood ten times so far this year. The most recent -- the first under Liberty's watch -- was this past Saturday, alleging that two residents with a history of hurting themselves were allowed to repeatedly injure themselves during November and December.

That series of citations prompted federal officials to threaten to cut off Medicaid funds in September, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed to delay the move while the state appeals the decision and tries to correct problems.

A spokesperson with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said the $2.8 million cost lawmakers had been told about only paid for Liberty's five top managers. At the time those numbers were released, said Vikki Franklin, the state was negotiating with Liberty over the costs of consultants and contract employees.

Maureen Fitzgerald, director of the state Division of Protection and Advocacy, told the paper she is concerned that the state is spending over $1 million a month on the troubled facility's operations at a time when Medicaid funds are tight and more than 2,000 adults with intellectual disabilities are on a waiting list for community-based services.

"My concern is that we're throwing more money at Oakwood when we need to be spending it in the community," Fitzgerald said.

"Oakwood deal triples to $9 million" (Courier-Journal)


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