- Associated Press - Monday, July 13, 2015

PAULS VALLEY, Okla. (AP) - The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has officially closed a center in Pauls Valley that was used to house residents with developmental disabilities.

The agency on Friday moved out the last client of the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center. It was one of two long-time institutions in the state for adults with developmental disabilities that the now-disbanded Oklahoma Commission for Human Services voted to close in November 2012, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1HqO3Xa ).

The Northern Oklahoma Resource Center in Enid was the other institution, and it closed in November.

“This is a monumental thing for Oklahoma to be able to close down the last remaining public institution for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said agency spokeswoman Sheree Powell, who noted that Oklahoma will be joining more than a dozen other states that previously have done the same thing.

Officials say they are using a contract network of community-based homes to house disabled residents, which Powell said allows them to live closer to their families.



Providers of community-based services have been among the strongest supporters of moving away from institutions, but they now warn that their ability to offer quality care for residents may be hurt due to the department’s June announcement that it would be cutting their provider reimbursement rate by 3.5 percent.

“We’re going to have to shut down some of these houses,” said Cheryl Carroll, chief operating officer for Oklahoma City-based Sequoyah Enterprises, Inc. It provides residential care services for more than 100 clients across the state.

“We’re looking at having to reduce our staff wages, which is going to cause people to leave,” she said.

Powell said department officials understand that providers will have to make adjustments. But she said they continue to have faith they will be able to provide residents with a high quality of care without cutting any corners that would hurt their health or safety.

___

Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide