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Management firm wants $1 million a month to run KY institution

SOMERSET, KY -- Hiring Liberty Healthcare Corp. of Philadelphia to run Kentucky's troubled Oakwood institution is going to cost the state over $1 million a month, Vikki Franklin, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, has told reporters.

" Kentucky expects to spend up to $9 million over eight months on a company that says it can correct problems at Communities at Oakwood, the largest state facility for mentally retarded adults," the Louisville Courier-Journal reported this morning. "The amount is about three times larger than the $2.8 million officials had told lawmakers hiring the company."

The new amount surprised some parents of Oakwood residents, a lawmaker on the committee that reviews outside contracts, and an advocate who represents some of the home's residents.

"That's incredible," said Don Putnam of Lexington, whose son is among the 300 residents at the Somerset facility. "That seems like it would require some sort of explanation."

Franklin said the state might not have to spend the entire $9 million, depending on the need for more Liberty staff and consultants.

Oakwood was cited again on Saturday for "endangering the health or safety of residents." This time, the citation stated that two residents with a history of hurting themselves were allowed to repeatedly injure themselves in November and December. It's the institution's tenth citation, and it came under the Liberty's watch. Liberty was hired last month -- to the tune of $350,000 a month -- "under an emergency agreement to supply top managers for the problem-ridden facility while the state negotiated a contract."

As Maureen Fitzgerald, head of the state's Division of Protection and Advocacy, which has been monitoring Oakwood, put it, "we're throwing more money at Oakwood when we need to be spending it in the community."

Oakwood deal triples to $9 million: Contractor running mental-health center (Courier-Journal)

Other Ragged Edge stories about Oakwood:

Former KY Institution Employee Indicted on Abuse Charges -- November 29, 2005

Oakwood Staffer Charged with Abuse of Resident -- October 23, 2005

Feds grant troubled KY institution another reprieve -- October 11, 2005

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