Oakwood Could Lose Medicaid Funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - An administrative law judge has ruled that
the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can terminate funding to a Kentucky residential facility for mentally retarded adults.
The ruling is bad news for the Bluegrass Communities at Oakwood,
the embattled facility in Somerset that serves 224 people, because
Medicaid provides about 40 percent of the $75 million annual operating costs.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services plans to appeal the ruling. Spokeswoman Vikki Franklin said the agency also is considering submitting a new application asking federal officials to re-certify Oakwood for the Medicaid program.
"We are working diligently to determine the effect of this decision on the future of Oakwood," said Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller. "As we pursue all our options to preserve Oakwood's federal funding, we will continue to make plans to ensure that care of the residents is not negatively impacted."
Franklin said Oakwood has undergone significant change for the
better since it came under scrutiny by federal officials in 2005.
"It is in effect a different facility," she said.
The state contracted with the Bluegrass Mental Health-Mental
Retardation Board to take over the facility in November 2006.
Federal inspectors who visited the facility in November reported that residents appeared to be safe and well cared for. But the inspectors gave no guarantee that the facility would retain Medicaid funding after a four-day review.
The Somerset facility came under fire in 2005 after receiving more than two dozen serious citations from state regulators that dealt with patient neglect and endangerment. In one instance, a resident drowned after he was left alone in the bath.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Louis Location: Prospect on Apr 23, 2008 at 07:06 PM
    Having worked in a similar Ky ICF/MR facility, and also having worked for a community based program for MRDD adults; I can attest that "living" in an institutional setting is by far inadequate in providing individuals a positive and fulfilled existence. Abuse and neglect goes beyond the physical in these settings. Emotional, intellectual and spiritual neglect are VAST, and must not be ignored. In this 21st century it is time to recognize and practice proven progressive approaches to giving life to individuals labeled MR/DD - not just keeping them alive.
  • by Carol Location: KY on Apr 22, 2008 at 05:40 PM
    Why is this facility being punished with loss of funding now, rather than back when all the incidents were alleged to be occurring? It seems that all the efforts of Bluegrass MH/MR have been for nothing if this is allowed to occur. What about all the residents of this facility, many of whom will have no place to go? The state already underfunds the programs for those living in the community, so that there is a waiting list of approximately 3,000 who need to be served through the Support for Community Living program. If there are current problems with the facility that need addressed, do that, rather than cause more hardship for both those in Oakwood and all those in community who need extra care due to MH/MR issues.


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