The Commonwealth of Virginia has 5 training centers that provide safe and supportive environments for more than 800 individuals with significant intellectual disabilities (ID), most of whom also have either severe behavioral problems or complex medical needs. Virginia has decided to close 4 of the centers on an arbitrary schedule, before good placements have been found for each and every resident. If a community placement is not found for a resident by the stated closure date, Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) has said that the resident will be sent to another training center many hours away from family and their communities, only to await its closure. Virginia is continuing down this path even though the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and federal District Court Judge John Gibney have stated that the DOJ-Virginia Settlement Agreement to increase community living options for people with ID does not require the closure of these training centers, and that the final decision resides in the hands of the General Assembly. While the General Assembly supports strong measures to assure quality care for those who choose community placements, it has not endorsed this closure plan. Nonetheless, the DBHDS continues to pressure representatives of training center residents to move their medically fragile and severely disabled loved ones into communities that are not ready to receive them. Several Community Service Boards, which provide pre-admission screening, have stated that they are not able to provide services for this population on such a short schedule and with the current Medicaid stipend per person (Medicaid waiver). While Virginia plans to seek an enriched Medicaid waiver, any new waiver will not be ready before scheduled closures. Inadequate waivers hurt all disabled Virginians; those already in the community on waiting lists for services, and those being discharged from training centers without adequate and necessary services in place.
We the undersigned Virginia Residents and interested parties, 18 years of age or older, ask the next Governor and the General Assembly to:
ü SLOW DOWN THIS CLOSURE PROCESS and take a closer look at the needs of Virginia’s most vulnerable and fragile population.
ü REMOVE THE ARBITRARY, UNREALISTIC TIMELINE FOR DISCHARGE. Make sure that each of these individuals is living in the safest, most appropriate setting of their choosing.
ü DO NOT TRANSFER THESE INDIVIDUALS MANY HOURS AWAY from their families because the DBHDS decided to close a training center before an appropriate local community home could be found or built.
ü CONSIDER ALL THE OPTIONS, including downsizing current training centers and sharing grounds with other groups needing similar services to achieve economies of scale.
ü CONSIDER THE HUNDREDS OF LOST JOBS of highly skilled Virginians if the training centers close.
For more information, visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/KeepVirginiasTrainingCentersOpen
or send email to KarenSchupak@gmail.com