Advocates Join Cost-Saving Debate To Push For Closing
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 2, 2006
AMERICAN FORK, UTAH--Advocates for community living on Monday took advantage of the state's debate over long-term care to push for closing a 75-year-old institution that houses people with developmental disabilities.
During a legislative task force meeting on Medicaid, advocates suggested that the state sell the valuable land that the Utah State Developmental Center sits on and transfer its 230 residents -- along with the profits from the sale -- into homes in the community, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
As the task force looked at ways to trim Medicaid costs, advocates pointed out that, while the Division of Services for People with Disabilities serves 4,000 Utahns, the agency spends 25 percent of its budget just to serve the 6 percent that are housed in the institution.
"The Developmental Center is the most expensive place to provide these services," said Fraser Nelson, director of the Disability Law Center.
"There is no reason these services can't be offered in smaller settings in the community."
"Is it the people who cost so much, or is it the place?" she asked, noting that it costs the state $400 a day for each institution resident compared with $75 a day for each person in the community. "States large and small have closed their large institutions and saved money in the process."
Lawmakers did not comment on the proposal.
"Advocates for mentally disabled want facility shut" (Salt Lake Tribune)