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Center’s closing upsets clients’ families

Center’s closing upsets clients’ families

Posted: Monday, February 1, 2010 10:42 am
By: The Associated Press

The Messenger 02.01.10
NASHVILLE (AP) — Budget-cutting Tennessee officials plan to close the oldest state-run, long-term care facility for the mentally disabled, but advocates claim in federal court that the state has failed to show the residents will be safely placed in other care centers.
Closing the Clover Bottom Development Center that opened in 1923 would save about $36 million a year in state and federal dollars. Residents could be moved to another state-run facility in East Tennessee or to private facilities.
Among about 100 residents, 57-year-old Teresa Burkett, is blind, mentally disabled and has severe medical ailments.
Her sister, Lynne, told The Tennessean in a story Thursday that without the kind of help Clover Bottom provides, Teresa would not survive.
Advocates who filed suit against the state over poor conditions at Clover Bottom and similar facilities in the mid-1990s are back in court. They do not oppose closing Clover Bottom, but they say the state hasn’t shown that residents will be safely placed in other centers by the June 30 deadline.
The state is proceeding under the assumption that it will close, said Missy Marshall, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Intellectual Disabilities Services.
“We’re not going to do anything to jeopardize the health or safety of any of the individuals that live there,” Marshall said. “Nobody’s being forced to do anything. Families and conservators have choices.”
Gov. Phil Bredesen’s proposed budget to be presented to lawmakers Monday includes $50 million to build eight small, state-run facilities around Tennessee, state Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz said.
The new homes would provide beds for 32 people.
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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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