Winchester Center for Mentally Disabled to Close

December 5, 2011

WINCHESTER, Va. — Homes are being sought for about 40 mentally disabled residents who will be displaced by the closure of a community living center in Frederick County.

The Robert E. Rose Memorial Foundation will close its Center for Community Living, which houses a group home and assisted living program, in the next eight to 12 weeks, said Lester Saltzberger, director of licensing at the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

“It was hard for them to run two separate programs in the same facility,” Saltzberg told the Winchester Star (http://bit.ly/rUdz ).

He said the programs require different rules, regulations, clientele and programming. The group home is licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and the assisted living program is licensed by the Department of Social Services.

Case managers are looking for local alternative facilities for the residents. As soon as they are discharged, the foundation will voluntarily turn in its two licenses.

“They think that most or all (residents) will be placed right in the region,” Saltzberg said.

He said foundation officials plan to reapply as an intermediate care facility for mental retardation.

Julie Keenan, whose 44-year-old son Patrick is a resident at the center, said he can live at her home but the closure leaves her feeling “at sea.”

“I’m 69,” she told the newspaper. “I’m not going to live forever. I thought Patrick would have a secure place.”

Foundation employees declined to comment.

In February, former director Greg Strosnider was fired following an inspection by the Department of Social Services that found evidence of patient neglect, inadequate supervision by staff, financial irresponsibility and employee drug abuse.

Jonathan Hamilton, who was hired in July to replace Strosnider and make changes, left the position several weeks ago.

“We got a director that was pretty good and made positive changes, but he suddenly left,” Saltzberg said.

The name of Hamilton’s replacement wasn’t immediately available.