The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has reached an agreement with Bluegrass.org – a Kentucky-based, non-profit organization – to assume management of Hazelwood, a state-owned Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The agreement includes Hazewood ICF, the Hazelwood specialty clinic, and three community homes.
“Hazelwood plays an invaluable role in Kentucky’s healthcare infrastructure and has served to meet the needs of countless individuals, family members, and staff over many decades. Just as healthcare standards have progressed, so have best practices in the management of intermediate care facilities,” said Wendy Morris, commissioner for the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, a part of CHFS.
“As we work to deliver a person-centered model emphasizing independence, we determined it is in the best interest of all involved to partner with Bluegrass.org – a proven leader in the field – to manage Hazelwood. As always, residents and family members are our top priority and we are working to ensure this transition will be seamless.”
The transition follows the successful model Bluegrass.org has achieved with operation of Somerset-based Oakwood, the largest of Kentucky’s four state-owned ICFs.
“Bluegrass has a proven record of managing the transition and operations of a state-run intermediate care facility,” said CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “The expertise and stability this arrangement provides will solidify services and insure consistent quality of care to this vulnerable population.”
Under the terms, Bluegrass.org will assume responsibility for the complete staffing, management and administration of the facility, like the arrangement between the Cabinet and Bluegrass.org for the operation of Oakwood.
Following a meeting with Cabinet and Bluegrass representatives this afternoon, the president of the Hazelwood family group, which advocates for Hazelwood residents, endorsed the transition.
“We’re excited and enthusiastic about working with Bluegrass,” said Donna Ball, president of Concerned Families of Hazelwood. “The residents are happy, healthy and safe and I think that will be strengthened with bluegrass. It seems like they are really positive and caring. We are looking forward to some positive changes.”
Hazelwood ICF has an average daily census of 80 residents with an additional 24 residents residing in three community homes. Hazelwood and the community homes provide services on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week. The residents have intellectual and developmental disabilities, with the majority also being considered medically fragile.
Facility leadership has undergone a myriad of changes over the years, particularly since 2010. The facility also currently utilizes more than 10 different vendors to provide adequate staff. BHDID and Bluegrass.org emphasize this transition is designed to bring about stability and unification for the facility.
“At Bluegrass.org our mission is to assist individuals live meaningful and balanced lives. Since 2006, Bluegrass has served the residents of Oakwood in Somerset with care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ensuring each resident receives services created by an interdisciplinary team. Residents participate in more than 30 enrichment classes, take part in Special Olympics, community events and have an opportunity to work in a garden center and tea room operated by Oakwood. We are looking forward to providing the same high-level of care and support for the residents and families at Hazelwood,” said Paul Beatrice, CEO at Bluegrass.org.
State employees at Hazelwood in good standing will be offered a job with Bluegrass, with at least comparable salary and benefits. CHFS and Bluegrass.org human resources’ staff members are available on the Hazelwood campus to inform employees about the benefits package and answer questions. Representatives from CHFS’ human resources will help those with merit status who wish to consider a transfer to a vacant cabinet position.
“We are committed to helping our state employees understand their employment options and make fully informed decisions about their future,” concluded Sec. Glisson.