Proponents, Opponents Testify at State Hearing on BSDC

BEATRICE – Proponents of the Beatrice State Developmental Center support a preliminary recommendation for the future of BSDC, while opponents said it’s time to close the institution as an outdated method of care for those with developmental disabilities.

The State’s Division of Developmental Disabilities heard testimony as it prepares a plan to be submitted this summer to lawmakers, as required by LB 895.  The division has studied options, all the way from closing BSDC to having it continue to serve clients with combined services contained in the preliminary recommendation.

Beatrice leaders, including Mayor Stan Wirth, urged the state to keep the 130-year-old BSDC in operation.

:19                  “behavioral needs”

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.

But, 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.  Eric Evans is CEO of the organization, Disability Rights Nebraska.

:17                  “service provision”

State officials heard testimony from parents and guardians of persons who are residents of BSDC.  Peg Huss is a guardian for her brother who resides at one of the BSDC cottages. He is non-verbal and profoundly disabled.

:31                  “where they reside”

BSDC Shift Supervisor, Heather Maschmann, works directly with clients at the Beatrice center.

:27                  “happen to ‘em”

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 Tuesday in Lincoln, representatives of Beatrice city government, Gage County government, the Beatrice Area Chamber and Gage Area Growth Enterprise spoke in support of BSDC.

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