KXLH CHANNEL 9: MDC LOOKING TO GROUP HOMES
Benchmark was mentioned in an article by KXLH News Media with regard to the State of Montana’s planned closure of the Montana Developmental Center.
By Sanjay Talwani – MTN News
HELENA – With the planned closure of the Montana Developmental Center in Boulder, the state is looking for new homes for dozens of residents.
That means more group homes are in the state’s future. Anaconda-based AWARE Inc., might care for some displaced MDC patients in group homes. And an Indiana company, Benchmark Human Services, has a tentative proposal to house 20 or more patients in at least five new group homes.
“This is … an opportunity to provide some high-quality services for people that have pretty intensive needs,” Doug Beebe, a Benchmark vice president, said in a telephone interview with MTN News Tuesday. “One of the things we’ve done across the country, for quite some time now, we’ve been able to successfully transition people, especially people who are medically fragile or people who have some intensive behavior needs, from institutional care to community care.”
The locations of any such group homes are not yet clear. Beebe said the company is still assessing the situation in Montana, including the needs of patients and the availability of structures that could be converted into group homes. And the whole deal is not final. Beebe said the company would not want to come to Montana for just a few years and then leave.
“Right now what we’ve been doing is completing our application and doing our due diligence to make sure that there’s something we can enter into and commit to in the long term,” he said. “It looks very favorable to us, but we’re not quite done with everything, so I hate to commit that we’re going to be out there full force, but it does look pretty promising.”
The company has a track record in other states of employing people who had previously worked at state institutions. The company would receive an additional $40,000 in federal funds per year per resident to offset costs. That’s in addition to base costs, which vary according to the individual needs and situation of the patient. MDC meanwhile continues to battle the challenge of employees seeking work elsewhere. It’s offering double overtime to fill some shifts and providing longevity bonuses.