Wednesday, January 20, 2016
More Beds Still Needed for Greene Valley Residents
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A federal judge has formally dismissed all but one of the remaining requirements for the closure of the Greene Valley Development Center, but several additional community facilities will be needed to finally end the decade old litigation.
The formal dismissal with prejudice was granted in a four-page Jan. 15 order from U.S. District Judge Kevin H. Sharp.
Citing the recommendation of a magistrate judge, Sharp ruled that the injunctive relief granted in prior orders was no longer necessary.
Officials of the state Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities hailed the decision.
"For us, this was not only about ending a costly lawsuit, it was about improving the lives of all Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Commissioner Debra Payne said in a written statement.
Sharp's order, however, makes clear that he will retain jurisdiction over the remaining issues including the placement of the remaining Greene Valley residents in alternative facilities.
"The Court shall continue to have and exercise jurisdiction of this matter but only for the following purposes: to resolve any claims or disputes involving persons while they reside at GVDC; to oversee the completion of Section X of the Exit Plan; and, to resolve any claims or disputes regarding attorney fees related to this matter," the order states.
DIDD spokeswoman Cara Kumari said that there are currently 68 remaining residents at GVDC. Records show most of them have opted to move to newly constructed community homes.
Currently private care providers have submitted applications to the state health officials to open nine facilities with a total of only 56 beds.
The proposed homes are located in Greene, Hamilton and Knox counties.
Protests against one of the proposed facilities were voiced at a recent public hearing in Greeneville. If approved the home to be operated by Sunrise Community of Tennessee would be located at 640 Old Shiloh Road in Greeneville.
Currently the state is under a June 30 deadline to transfer the remaining GVDC patients, but two six month extensions are possible.