SB 254 creates a responsible process to shift services for people with developmental disabilities into community settings and close the Montana Developmental Center.
This bill, sponsored by Sen. Mary Caferro would appoint two representatives of community providers, two parents or guardians of recently discharged residents from MDC, and advocates from MCDD and DRM to a committee to write a plan to close MDC that assures that services are appropriate, that the people are served, and the communities are kept safe.
part of this plan, the Department of Public Health and Human Services
will be required to discharge as many people as possible by December 31,
2014, with no more than 12 residents remaining at MDC by that date.
Currently, 26 of the 52 residents at the facility have been determined
by MDC to be able to be served in the community, so the DPHHS should be
in the process of placing them now. DPHHS then would have until December
2014 to place the remaining roughly 16 or more residents, depending on
how many people, up to 12, would need to remain at MDC given their needs
and lack of placements for secure care currently available in the
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have now closed all of their ICF-MR facilities. Minnesota was the most recent state to do so and it also issued an apology to people with developmental disabilities for its shameful history of institutionalization. ICF-MRs, like MDC, are remnants of this past system which required people, often children, to surrender their liberty to get care. Experts agree that it is not only possible but better to serve people in a network of community services than to isolate them in an institution away from their families.
Testimony on this bill was heard in front of the Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Safety Committee on Friday, February 8, 2013. There will be no action until the fiscal note is available.
Below is a list of the committee members.