The state mental health department has been stunned by a federal report on client care at its most prominent center for the mentally retarded and developmentally disabled. Director Keith Schafer says he can no longer guarantee the safety of all clients at the Bellefontain Habilitation Center in St.Louis is the wake of a report that has found one client in "immeidate jeopardy." That means the health and safety of the client is at risk. The report from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services says center staff did not provide appropriate interventions to the client with self-injurious behavior.
Schafer says that case is only one of several problems uncovered. She says the study also found more than half of the Behavioral Support Plans for other self-destructive clients were not up to date and the clients had not improved.
The findings prompt Schafer to cancel a plan for a private company to serve up to 120-clients on the center campus. Now he’ll get proposals from four companies to move about 128 clients into the community.
Schafer says he’s frustrated by the report because the department has put a lot of resources into improving conditions at Bellefontaine. Governor Blunt suggested in 2005 the center be closed. Schafer resists that, saying the conditions of some people require habilitation center services.