This morning Bill Hazel, Secretary of Public Health, gave a comprehensive report on Virginia’s recent deal with the Department of Justice to close down the state training centers and gradually transfer the severely disabled residents into a group home setting.
Virginia traditionally hospitalized severely disabled citizens in “training centers” for the duration of their life. This has historically been a state expense, covered thru Medicaid and other state programs. The aggregate annual cost is about $138,000 per resident. There are currently less than 1,000 residents left in the training center system.
In recent times, the centralization of care has been replaced by the “waiver” program which has replaced that institutionalization with community-based care which usually relocates the disabled person to a group home (or leaves him in his family home with appropriate assistance). Currently, there are about 8,600 funded waiver slots in Virginia and about 5,000 persons on the “waiting list” to get additional slots. All these consumers are placed directly in the community.
In 2011, the DOJ sued Virginia iover its failure to close the training centers and put all its disabled people into an “integrated” community setting. I won’t go too far into details, other than the Federal law (as dictated by the Olmstead case) now mandates this conversion.
With the recent settlement, Virginia will phase out its training centers over the next few years. (NoVA Training Center in Fairfax will close in 2015). It must also create 4,000+ new waiver slots. The estimated cost is $340M to manage this transition, which will be spread over ten years.
The dislocation for certain families will be inevitable. I’ve talked to people on both sides of this issue. I know that NVTC families dearly want it to stay open and enjoy the continuum of care. Sadly, that is not legally possible.
NVTC has been a great neighbor for years in Fairfax County. It will be a major transition to see it close its Braddock Road campus in 2015. It has served us well.