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Rosewood Center -- Poor Conditions Lead To Closure

"The decline of this facility is not something that happened recently. It's a decline that has happened in the course of many decades."
--Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, explaining why he has decided to close the 120-year-old Rosewood Center (January 16, 2008)

Jan. 25: Official: Most Rosewood Center Residents Will Move To Community
Jan. 16: Governor: Rosewood Center Will Close In 18 Months
Dec. 20: State To Decide Whether To Shutter Rosewood Center
Dec. 13: Rosewood Center Gets Another Bad Report
Oct. 11: Coalition Rallies At Governor's Mansion For Rosewood Closure
Sept. 27: Visiting Lawmakers See Few Rosewood Residents; Say They Need More Information
Sept. 13 Rats, Cockroaches, Raw Sewage, And Neglect Lead To New Ban On Rosewood Admissions
March 8: Former Residents: Close Rosewood Center
Feb. 2: Lawmaker, Advocates, And Newspaper Call For Closing Institution
Feb. 19: Lawmakers, Advocates Discuss Facility-Based Respite Care
Jan. 27: Rosewood Center Recommended For Closure, But No Time Soon
Jan. 29: Report Says Investigators Ignored Problems That Led To Restraint Death

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Lawmakers, Advocates Discuss Facility-Based Respite Care
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 19, 2004

OWINGS MILLS, MARYLAND--The state of Maryland desperately needs more respite services to provide a temporary backup for people with developmental disabilities when their usual caregivers are hurt or sick. The state's community-based respite program has a waiting list of 11,653 people, according to the Owings Mills Times.

Lawmakers are currently reviewing a proposal to provide more respite care -- not in the community -- but in the state's four institutions. HB 475 would require the facilities to set aside 4 percent of their total beds for respite services. The length of stay under the bill could not exceed 45 days in one year or 28 consecutive days.

Analysts estimate that opening up 25 beds at the four institutions would cost the state nearly $820,000 during fiscal year 2006. The state currently spends just $700,000 on its community-based respite program.

Opponents note that it costs the state about $70 each day for a person in the community-based program, while it costs about $460 for the same services in an institutional setting. The money to cover the 25 respite beds in the institutions would pay for more than 11,700 days of care in the community.

Some oppose the bill for reasons other than money.

"No children or no one should be put in an institution just to get help," said Michael Taylor, as he testified on the bill last week. "People should get help in their homes, where their children belong."

"(Institutionalization) is bad; I was lonely," said Taylor, who was housed in Rosewood Center for 30 years, but now lives on his own in a Towson apartment. He calls it his "freedom pad."

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Rosewood Center Recommended For Closure, But No Time Soon
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 27, 2004

OWINGS MILLS, MARYLAND--In a report released Monday, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene suggested that, if a state-operated institutions is closed, it should be Rosewood Center.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the study concluded that the value of the land on which the institution sits makes Rosewood the most cost-effective of Maryland's four institutions housing people with developmental disabilities to close. The aging facility sits on 235 acres of land in this small town just outside of Baltimore.

Other factors that make it most attractive for closing are the fact that the Baltimore area would be best able to provide group homes for the 159 residents who would move into the community, along with employment opportunities for displaced workers. The remaining 50 residents are court-committed and are waiting to be placed in a facility at the state's maximum-security psychiatric hospital that has not yet been built.

Health Secretary Nelson J. Sabatini submitted the report to Delegate Norman H. Conway and Senator Ulysses Currie, chairmen of the General Assembly's budget committees, which had asked the department to recommend one of four institutions to close to save the state money.

Senator Paula C. Hollinger, whose area includes Rosewood Center, said she does not expect any action on the subject during this legislative session.

In submitting the report, Sabatini recommended that none of the four institutions be closed in the immediate future. The cost for closure is too high for the state's current fiscal situation, he explained, and "you don't start saving money until the last resident is gone, and the land is disposed of."

Rosewood Center opened in 1888 as the Asylum and Training School for the Feeble Minded. It currently houses more than one-half of the 404 people with developmental disabilities in Maryland's four institutions. The state provides residential services in the community for more than 7,000 people.

Six institutions have closed down in the past 20 years. Community living advocates have been pushing for years to close down all of the state's institutions.

"Why are we not proceeding?" asked Cristine Marchand, executive director of the Arc of Maryland. "We are so far behind already."

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Report Says Investigators Ignored Problems That Led To Restraint Death
January 29, 2002

OWINGS MILLS, MARYLAND--Mark Bittner died Dec. 21, 2000.

The 30-year-old man lost consciousness and died while being restrained by four or five workers at Rosewood Center, the institution he had moved into nine years earlier.

In a report scheduled for release Tuesday, the Maryland Disability Law Center accused state investigators of failing to look into certain facts that were important in the case.

"I don't think the office takes the responsibility to investigate very seriously," Philip J. Fornaci, executive director of the law center told the Baltimore Sun. "They don't seem to want a lot of scrutiny about what goes on at some of these institutions."

According to the report, the Office of Health Care Quality, an investigative division of Maryland's Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, neglected to determine why workers waited 14 minutes from the time Bittner stopped breathing to call for an ambulance.

The law center also noted that Rosewood workers had recommended Bittner be moved into the community several years before he died.

"It appears that his placement was delayed not due to his readiness but rather because of systemic problems," the report says. "Although the state investigation does not comment on this issue, it is undeniable that, if Mark had not remained at Rosewood, he might still be alive today."

Rosewood Center is operated by the state's Developmental Disabilities Administration and houses about 250 people.

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