Community Advocates Call For Closing Troubled Nebraska
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 10, 2006
BEATRICE, NEBRASKA--The Arc of Nebraska is calling for the state to close a 119-year-old institution, and move its residents into homes in the community, following a federal report that found cases of inadequate supervision which led to an alleged rape, improper restraints, and staff threats of physical abuse at the facility.
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services released a 14-page report from an unannounced September visit to the Beatrice State Developmental Center, which houses about 370 adults and children with developmental disabilities.
Among three areas in which the reviewers found residents were in "immediate jeopardy", was a claim by a female resident that a male resident -- who was supposed to be closely supervised because of a history of "inappropriate sexual behavior" -- raped her. Interviews with staff revealed that they were not aware that he was to be monitored more than any other resident.
The federal surveyors also found that the facility had failed to follow up on that case and other claims of abuse, or to look into its restraint procedures after a resident was injured during an improper restraint.
The facility's administrator resigned when the report was released.
In a press statement, the Arc of Nebraska called for the state to systematically de-institutionalize BSDC and establish an independent oversight commission to monitor the residents' needs. It's executive committee also called for the immediate resignation of three members of the Health and Human Services Policy and Rene Ferdinand, Administrator of Developmental Disabilities System.
Governor Dave Heineman said he does not plan to close the institution, which is supported by family members of BSDC residents and is one of the largest employers in the area.
The facility has until October 22 to issue a corrective action plan.
"Report details abuse allegations at BSDC facility" (Beatrice Daily Sun)
"ARC calls for Beatrice center to close" (Lincoln Journal-Star)
"Arc Calls For Independent Oversight Commission And Systematic De-Institutionalization Of BSDC" (Arc of Nebraska)