Tag Archives: DIDD

Greene Valley closing delayed another six months

State officials said in a letter Wednesday that Greene Valley Developmental Center, the last state-run institution for people with disabilities in Tennessee and one of the largest employers in Greene County, will remain in operation for another six months, reports WJHL-TV.

The hundreds of employees still working at Greene Valley, have been told it would close in June of this year, then that was pushed back to December, and now it’s set to close in Spring of 2017.

Back in January of 2015, dozens of people protested to keep Greene Valley from closing. But now, the question isn’t if Greene Valley will close but when.

“I’ve been telling the state this for several years that it’s going to take a longer time to transition residents into the community then they’ve set a time frame to do so,” Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville) said.

In the letter sent to employees, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities sent to employees this week, it said challenges came up in building some of the private homes for residents transitioning out of Greene Valley. And because of that, Greene Valley will stay open until Spring of 2017.

The DIDD commissioner said in the letter that as they transition residents out of Greene Valley they will also reduce staffing.

DIDD spokesperson Cara Kumari said in a statement: “A significant percentage of employees working with persons supported at GVDC will have the opportunity to accompany them into their new community home and become employees of the private agency.”

State lags in moving disabled out of closing institution

Greene Valley Developmental Center, the last state-run institution for adults with disabilities, is scheduled to close in just four months, but 58 residents still call the facility home and state Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, says it may have to stay open until next summer.

Further from WJHL TV:

“My concern continues to be that we are not going to have all these community homes built and functional by the end of this calendar year which is what DIDD has promised,” Hawk said.

On Friday, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) celebrated the first resident to move out of Greene Valley and in to a new care facility in Roane County. But this facility is the only one complete, with 15 left to go across the state. Continue reading

Clover Bottom Developmental Center dies, age 92

News release from Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
NASHVILLE—The final people with disabilities to receive services and supports at Clover Bottom Developmental Center (CBDC) are moving into their new community homes marking the closure of Tennessee’s first institution for the care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In recent years, the state closed Nat T. Winston and Arlington Developmental Centers in West Tennessee. The closure of CBDC leaves Greene Valley Developmental Center (GVDC) in East Tennessee as the state’s only remaining institution for the care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. GVDC is scheduled for closure in the summer of 2016.

“Closing the last of the large institutions in Tennessee, as challenging and difficult as it is, I believe will lead us to be one of the best states in regards to services for people with disabilities,” said Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) Commissioner Debra K. Payne. Commissioner Payne’s career in supporting people with disabilities began at CBDC in the 1970s. Payne went on to say, “I think institutional care served its purpose for many years. Today, there are many different options for people, and Tennessee is on the front edge of that.”
Continue reading

Judges OKs end to 20-year-old lawsuit over TN developmental centers

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has accepted the state’s proposal to close Tennessee’s last large facility housing mentally disabled people by the end of next June.

Media report that Judge Kevin Sharpe issued his ruling on Thursday, about a week after hearing arguments in Nashville for and against the closure of the Greene Valley Developmental Center in Greenville, which has nearly 100 residents and about 600 workers.

State officials recommended closing the facility to end a long-running lawsuit over care of the mentally disabled. They plan to move the residents into more community-like settings as part of a larger movement to improve services and get people out of large institutions.

The judge ruled the state’s proposal “benefits the public interest.”

“The court concludes that the exit plan presented by the parties is ‘fair, reasonable and adequate’ and provides the next iteration of improvement to the lives of those with disabilities in Tennessee. It will test political will and legislative leadership to continue that progress and to determine how best to care for those often left in the shadows,” he wrote.

He ruled that the families who tried to intervene to keep the center open did not file their motion in a timely manner and meet other requirements.

He did acknowledge their concerns, but said others have been moved out of institutions into alternative care facilities with favorable outcomes.

Note: Press release below.
Continue reading

Judge hears objections to closing Greene Valley Developmental Center

In a federal court hearing at Nashville Wednesday, there were impassioned objections to the state’s plan to close Greene Valley Developmental Center from relatives with disabled loved ones still living there, reports The Tennessean.

Four guardians of residents living in Greene Valley have hired an attorney, who on Wednesday asked that the court allow them to intervene in the case.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp said he will rule next week on whether the guardians can legally intervene. He will also rule on whether to approve an “exit plan” from the lawsuit that includes the plan to close Greene Valley as well as institute other changes in the way the state cares for people with intellectual disabilities.

But lawyers for the state told the judge that while his approval is needed to end the long-running court case, the decision to close Greene Valley ultimately lies with the state.

… The plan to close Greene Valley is part of an overall agreement to end nearly 20 years of federal court oversight over two large institutions operated by the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. A second institution, Clover Bottom Developmental Center in Nashville, is scheduled to close in June.

A federal court has been overseeing the facilities since the Department of Justice first filed suit in 1996 over deplorable conditions inside the state’s institutions for people with intellectual disabilities, defined as possessing an IQ of 70 or less.

The plan to shut down Greene Valley emerged unexpectedly earlier this month, taking many guardians by surprise.

But it comes many years into a national movement to end the practice of caring for people in large asylum-style facilities and integrating them into neighborhood homes. For decades, Tennessee officials have slowly transitioned residents form large institutions into small group homes or four- or eight-person medical facilities.

“This should come as no real surprise to anyone because in many respects that institution has been closing since the 1970s,” said Jonathan Lakey, an attorney for the state.

At its peak, 3,200 people lived in state institutions, but today just 96 remain at Greene Valley and 20 at Clover Bottom. The cost of providing care to so few in institutions built to serve hundreds has become “economically prohibitive,” Lakey said.

State plans closing of Greene Valley Developmental Center

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State officials have agreed to close a large facility in East Tennessee that houses mentally disabled people, but local officials say they will argue to keep it open.

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities has submitted a plan to shut down Greene Valley Developmental Center by next June and move its nearly 100 residents into more home-like settings. According to media, the move would end a lawsuit filed against the state in 1995 over its care of mentally disabled people.

Tennessee Disability Coalition assistant director Donna DeStefano said the organization has pushed for more than two decades for people with intellectual disabilities to be moved into more community-like settings.

“People with all types of disabilities belong in the community with family and friends,” she said. “In institutions, staff are paid to be there. What happens is that everybody the person with disabilities knows is paid to be there. That’s an unequal relationship. In the community, it can be more equalized.”

Some in Greene County object to the proposal because they say the facility cares well for its residents, and it would put 600 people out of work.

“The concern of Greene Valley and Greene County communities is about the welfare of the residents currently living in Greene Valley,” said Rep. David Hawk, a Republican from Greeneville. “These residents are the most medically and mentally fragile Tennesseans. It’s going to be difficult to find care for those individuals outside the setting of Greene Valley.”

Family members “do not want their loved ones to leave,” he said.

A federal judge must decide whether to approve the plan. A hearing in the case is set for Jan. 21 in Nashville.

Top officials at Clover Bottom Developmental Center fired

The two top officials at Clover Bottom Developmental Center were fired Thursday and a third person contracted to provide behavioral services also was dismissed, reports The Tennessean.

The terminations follow a Tennessean story on Sunday that chronicled ongoing health and safety problems faced by the remaining 40 residents at Tennessee’s oldest institution for people with intellectual disabilities — more than four years after state officials pledged to shut it down. The Tennessean also reported on the high cost borne by taxpayers as a result of the delay in closing the institution. Tennessee taxpayers next year will foot the bill for what could be the nation’s costliest institutional care — more than half a million dollars per person living at Clover Bottom — to care for a small number of residents who have waited for years to be relocated into residential homes from a sprawling campus built to house 1,500.

Those affected by Thursday’s terminations were Chief Officer Stacey Dixon, who oversaw operations at the 90-year-old Donelson facility; Darla Goad, director of residential and case management services; and Jennifer Bruzek, who state officials said was a contract employee through Columbus, a behavioral services agency. The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities has asked Columbus for a different behavioral analyst, spokeswoman Cara Kumari said.

DIDD officials did not comment on the reasons behind the dismissals beyond a statement that read: “This restructuring will align our staffing with those in the other regions, dedicating one person to oversight of Clover Bottom and the new Middle Tennessee Homes while also dedicating an administrator specific to the Harold Jordan Center.

On closing Clover Bottom Developmental Center

The Tennessean has a review of state plans to finally close Clover Bottom Development Center, including some sad situations impacting individuals. An excerpt:

Four years after pledging to shut it down, state officials with the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities have yet to shutter Clover Bottom, the 90-year-old institution created in an earlier era when people with autism and other disabilities were sent to large state institutions at young ages to live out their days.

Forty longtime residents still live on the aging Donelson campus that once housed more than 1,500. Some have lived at the facility for decades, waiting for the state to deliver on its long-delayed promise to move them into homes in residential neighborhoods. Thousands of people with disabilities across the country have left state facilities as part of a national deinstitutionalization movement intended to improve quality of life andreduce costs.

Most residents were found as far back as 1997 to belong someplace else — residential homes or small-scale intermediate-care facilities that could care for their complex medical needs while integrating them into the community. In 2009, then-Gov. Phil Bredesen said they would move by 2010. Officials now say the last resident won’t leave until May 2015.

Arlington Developmental Center lawsuit settled after 21 years

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed over conditions at the Arlington Developmental Center, ending the 21-year legal fight over the center for the developmentally disabled.

U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton had previously announced an agreement outlining steps the state would take to help former patients of the center, located in the Memphis suburb of Arlington. The federal government filed legal action in 1992 over abuse and mistreatment of people confined there. The state closed the center in 2010.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s office says U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla approved the plan and dismissed the lawsuit Wednesday.

The agreement requires the state to expand community-based services, help former patients now in nursing homes to move into community settings and demolish the former residential cottages on the Arlington campus.

Note: A news release on the lawsuit settlement is below.
Continue reading

DIDD computer finally fixed (almost, maybe)

If everything goes according to schedule, a new computer system will go online next year for tracking the services Tennessee provides to people with disabilities, according to WPLN. But it’s twenty years overdue.

On its website, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities has a video (HERE) in which Deputy Commissioner Lance Iverson touts what’s being called Project Titan. His message to service providers, family members and department staff is that the new computer system will be a huge change for the better. And that it really will exist.

“Many of you have heard this story before and you might be watching this video while rolling your eyes and shaking your head. I understand why you’re skeptical. We’ve said this six times before and nothing’s changed.”

The current software dates back to 1994. It was intended to be a stopgap, thrown together so state workers could perform one month’s worth of billing before something more permanent was put in place. Instead, the temporary solution was patched–new bits of code have been added here, additional features cobbled in there.

Efforts to replace the system entirely repeatedly sputtered out. One project was killed because the department’s IT department wasn’t up to the task. A contract to have an outside company fix the problem was cancelled after missed deadlines. A recent audit from the state comptroller’s office found that more than 4 million dollars was spent on the failed attempts.

The department started all over again last year. It expects to have the new system finally up and running in full by late summer.