BSDC Supporters Favor State’s Preliminary Recommendation

LINCOLN – The state recommended on Tuesday that the Beatrice State Developmental Center stay open while also providing needed and new services to the community.

The State’s Division of Developmental Disabilities held a formal public hearing in Lincoln to decide the fate of BSDC. Officials gave numerous options, including closing the facility that currently houses 109 developmentally disabled residents.

The recommended option would be 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.

The plan would have BSDC add respite services, crisis intervention support and acute crisis stabilization services. These items were identified as service needs in the community.

Many of the people in favor of keeping the facility’s doors open, said they liked the recommendation.

“I think it’s a good idea to let the 109 residents remain at BSDC because this is home for them. I think it’s also commendable that the scope of services of BSDC are being expanded so I approve of the plan,” says Dennis Crawford, brother of BSDC resident.

“We support the vision of keeping BSDC open and look forward to partnering with them to help meet their goals and visions. We strongly support the residents and their choice to live work and play in our community, it’s not my community, it’s our community,” says Lora Young, executive director of the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce.

“Studies have shown that typically money is not saved because individuals leaving facilities have expensive needs, no matter where they reside. Further, if not adequately funded, community placements often fail sometimes with tragic results,” says Peg Huss, guardian of a BSDC resident.

“It is the community’s hope that all options are investigated thoroughly and above all, that the best interest of our Beatrice citizens are of the highest priority,” says Stan Wirth, mayor of Beatrice.

Several members of the audience did speak for the closing of the state facility. One of them, CEO and President of OMNI Behavioral Health Dr. Bill Reay, says he would like to see the state go away from statewide institutions like BSDC.

“Given not only the decreasing census in BSDC and the fact that many of the most challenging clients have been discharged from BSDC and remain successfully integrated in communities across Nebraska. The continued reliance on isolated and congregated institutional settings over community based places is no longer rational public policy,” says Dr. Bill Reay of the OMNI Health.

The Division of Developmental Disabilities will be forced to make a formal decision in the summer on the fate of the BSDC.

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