Supporters of the Beatrice State Developmental Center favor a preliminary recommendation for the center’s future, while opponents say it’s time to close the institution as an outdated method of care for people with developmental disabilities.
The state’s Division of Developmental Disabilities heard testimony Tuesday as it prepares a plan to be submitted this summer to lawmakers.
The division has studied options, all the way from closing BSDC to having it continue to serve clients with combined services contained in the recommendation.
Beatrice leaders, including Mayor Stan Wirth, urged the state to keep the 130-year-old BSDC in operation.
Under the preliminary recommendation, BSDC would offer a combination of respite services, crisis intervention support and acute crisis treatment in an intermediate care setting, while the state looks for additional operational efficiencies.
Some say the center is too costly to operate and doesn’t meet the goal of providing the least restrictive care environment under terms of the 2009 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision.
State officials heard testimony from parents and guardians of persons who are residents of BSDC as well as center employees.
Megan Gumbel of the Division of Developmental Disabilities says officials have examined BSDC demographics, cost of providing services, client and family needs and the level of community integration of clients, among other things.
She said the goal of preliminary recommendation for BSDC is a system of integrated services for a 36-month period to address service needs and gaps in the developmental disabilities system, while community capacity is built.
At the hearing in Lincoln, representatives of Beatrice city government, Gage County government, the Beatrice Area Chamber and Gage Area Growth Enterprise spoke in support of BSDC.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice