Federal supervision of Oakwood mental-health facility ends

The federal supervision of Oakwood, the long-beleaguered Somerset facility for the mentally disabled, is no longer necessary and will end, officials announced yesterday.

The move means the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the U.S. Department of Justice will lift a 2006 settlement agreement, which stemmed from a Justice Department investigation into civil rights complaints.

“The lifting of the agreement reflects the tremendous amount of progress made at Oakwood in recent years,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “This is a true credit to the combine efforts of cabinet staff and others to improve the care provided to these residents.”
Oakwood has 112 residents and is the state’s largest home for people with mental disabilities. The Bluegrass Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board has a contract with the state to manage and operate the facility as well as provide community-based mental health, mental retardation/development disabilities and substance abuse services. The group took over in 2006.

“We cleaned up things, we created an infrastructure, we brought sound business management policies and technology, and we appreciated the good staff we inherited while moving out those who were problematic,” Bluegrass CEO Shannon Ware told Beth Musgrave of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The settlement was lifted by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky Sept. 29. (Read more)
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