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February 2, 2009, 9:15 a.m. CT

Jen Rae Hein
Ashley Cradduck


Gov. Heineman’s Comments on BSDC Licensing

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today held a news conference with Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer for the state, outlining changes being ordered at the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC).

The following is the full transcript of the Governor’s comments:

“Today Dr. Joann Schaefer, Nebraska’s Chief Medical Officer, and I are here to discuss the safety of the ‘medically fragile’ residents at the Beatrice State Developmental Center. During the past week, Dr. Schaefer has kept me informed of an investigation into the most recent death at BSDC.

“Friday evening, January 30th, Dr. Schaefer informed me that she would be acting under her authority in State Statute 71-446 to limit the license of the Beatrice State Developmental Center regarding their care of “medically fragile” residents. In her medical opinion and according to state statute, these ‘medically fragile’ residents may be in imminent danger of death or serious physical harm.

“On Saturday morning, I met with Dr. Schaefer, John Wyvill and other Health and Human Services and state officials to establish the procedures for removing ‘medically fragile’ residents from BSDC in order to ensure their health and safety. Late Saturday afternoon, Dr. Schaefer and I made joint telephone calls to the Chief Executive Officers of several Lincoln and Omaha hospitals. All of them have agreed to accept these ‘medically fragile’ residents at their hospitals.

“We also contacted Attorney General Jon Bruning Saturday afternoon and informed him of the situation. He offered to have his legal team assist us, which we readily accepted.

“At approximately 9:45 p.m. on Saturday evening, Dr. Schaefer signed an order limiting the license of the Beatrice State Developmental Center to care for ‘medically fragile’ residents. She delivered a copy of that order to me at the Governor’s residence at 10 p.m. Attorney General Bruning was also present.

“As we speak, families and guardians of these ‘medically fragile’ residents at BSDC are being informed that 35-40 “medically fragile” residents will be moved to a Lincoln or Omaha hospital as soon as possible in the best interest of the resident. According to Dr. Schaefer’s order, all ‘medically fragile’ residents will be removed from BSDC no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, February 6th.

“I am in full and complete support of Dr. Schaefer’s actions.”

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