Gov. Matt Mead toured the Wyoming Life Resource Center two days after an advocacy group published a report suggesting the facility poses a risk to its residents.

But that visit had been planned for weeks before the report, Mead’s spokesman, Renny MacKay, said Wednesday. The report claims old and poorly maintained buildings present a significant risk to residents.

Lawmakers earlier this year directed Wyoming health officials to study the center. There has also been an ongoing debate about a state program that funds disability services.

Amid those discussions, Mead wanted to see the center himself, MacKay said.

Mead received a letter from the Wyoming Protection & Advocacy System Inc., the group that published the report in July. The governor has been receiving updates on the situation and is confident in Wyoming Health Department Director Tom Forslund’s oversight, MacKay said.

Rep. Elaine Harvey, who chairs the legislative committee that studies health issues, learned about the report after someone told her it was posted by a group on Facebook. If Protection & Advocacy submits the document to the health committee, Harvey believes an investigation should be performed.

Harvey said she was disappointed to read about allegations the staff failed to properly secure things at the facility. But closing down the center isn’t a realistic option.

“It’s a safety net for people who have nowhere else to go,” she said.

Contact Joshua Wolfson at 307-266-0582 or at josh.wolfson@trib.com. Visit http://trib.com/news/opinion/blogs/wolfjammies to read his blog. Follow him on Twitter @joshwolfson.

(6) comments

WyomingCowboy82435

Pass the buck Governor Mead, you and your lacky's are responsible for this. You all need to be sued to get your attention.

WyomingCowboy82435

Governor Mead, Director Forslund, Dept. Director Chis Newman are the individuals that should be held accountable for such treatment of our most vulnerable citizens in Wyoming. Someone needs to hold the executive branch accountable for such a terrible place instead of destroying the community programs who all CARF accredited they should be close the WLRC center placing it residents into a safe environment. Kudo's to P&A for bringing this to everyone's attention. Now lets see the Governor step up and do what is right by these citizens with intellectual disabilities. They scapegoated a very loyal and thorough employee by forcing Virginia Wright out, when in fact the higher ups should be forced to resign for letting such a fiasco happen under their watch. This the second time Chris Newman has scape gloated the WLRC Super intent, accepting no responsibility for the conditions of the WLRC. Open your eyes legislature to what is being done in your name. I just is not right to blame the legislature for the action of the Department of Healths bureaucrats failure. Hello class action lawsuit!

Sassy
Sassy

I guess I would say the people who work for the Superintendent need to be investigated.

If the facilities are in need of repair the maintenance or operations person needs to make that happen. These are the people that are inept and need to be scrutinized.

Sassy
Sassy

Facilities that are CARF certified do not have anywhere NEAR the stringent Health and Safety regulations that ICF/IDD certified facilities have. It should be known that WLRC is subject to YEARLY FEDERAL SURVEYS- which are always passed with flying colors and FEWER deficiencies than ANY OTHER FACILITY IN THE NATION. WLRC has been used as a model for other care providers; because of the high level of care received there, and the adherence to the strictest safety and health standards. Every building on campus that serves as a residential or day program site, is certified to LIFE SAFETY CODE.
I am appalled that the Casper Star would publish such a biased, and unfounded article without checking the FACTS. Where are the qualifications of the people who are so quick to throw WLRC to the wolves? When was the last time anyone who is calling WLRC "a horrible place" took a tour? Saw for themselves? Instead of accepting P & A's blanket statements about clients being at risk- why don't you do your research FIRST HAND?
WLRC has changed over the last 100 years, in case you are wondering. It is not some kind of "asylum" as some would have the public believe. It is not a hazardous place to live or work, and in fact, many of the clients who reside at WLRC do so because it IS the SAFEST PLACE FOR THEM TO BE. Ask any one of the guardians who have a loved one living there; if they would rather see their family member residing in a community "facility", or WLRC. See what your answer will be. The clients at WLRC, are there because they ARE our most vulnerable citizens, they need 24 hr. care, therapeutic, medical, dietary & behavioral services. Many have been in & out of community programs throughout their lives and have had the CARF community service providers KICK THEM OUT. Do you think that these same providers are now going to welcome nearly 90 of our most fragile citizens back with open arms when they could not serve them in the first place? Just where would you suggest that they live, WyomingCowboy82435?
There is no one single person or entity to blame here. It is a system that is broken. The breakage starts with Legislators who are only seeing dollars & cents, instead of the HUMAN ELEMENT. There are certain parties within our Legislature who want to "spread the wealth" - in other words, they see the dollar amount being spent to serve a client at WLRC, and want that same dollar amount spent on a client in the community, regardless of LEVEL OF NEED. Looking at only the numbers may good for "business" - however, it isn't what is good for our DD population. Do I think that everyone with DD should receive services? Absolutely. Make it fit their needs. Should we do it at the expense of 90-some of our most needy DD population, and at the expense of the four-hundred-and-some dedicated community members who serve those needs 24/7? I think not.
On a final note, the way that Mrs. Wright was relieved of her duties was just plain wrong, but once again it shows us the power of politics over what is right- and it is very sad indeed.

Sassy
Sassy

I wonder when the Panda audits on the CARF facilities will be published ??

Sassy
Sassy

For the readers: Wyoming Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc (Panda) is a for profit national organization- that is paid by the federal government.

Their mission as a watch dog is to seek out and destroy state run Developmental Disabled (DD) facilities across the US. They are opposed to the Wyoming Life Resource Center serving Wyoming-s most fragile residents. They want it closed.

I would be curious to see the "audit form" that is used when evaluating a facility and why don't they publish the audits on the community based facilities in Wyoming. After all Panda say they Advocate for the most vulnerable- right ? Without a standardized safety audit form- all data is highly subjective to the point of being invalid for anything other than a trash can liner. I would say the audit form and audits of other facilities- simply do not exist.

The credibility of the Panda- is very much in question, as they chose to publish the report on Facebook rather than share it with the legislative committee with oversight of the Wyoming Dept of Health. Respectful organizations keep all correspondence in the the light of day, rather than post it on the internet without sharing information with their "partners"

Finally if serious maintenance issues exist as the report suggests at WLRC; they need to be fixed. If it is determined that someone covered up or played down the seriousness of the maintenance lists- then those persons directly in charge of facility maintenance and operations need to be terminated (not just the Superintendent)

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.