Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Fletcher Visits Oakwood

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, February 01, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher early today made an unannounced visit to the Communities at Oakwood in Somerset, following growing concerns raised by recent deaths and Type A violations at the facility.

Governor Fletcher Visits OakwoodWhile there, Governor Fletcher and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Mark Birdwhistell met with officials at Oakwood, including executives from Liberty Health Care, contractors for operating the facility for adults with mental retardation.

“I went to Oakwood today following reports of recent Type A violations at the facility,” Governor Fletcher said.  “We cannot permit this situation to continue. However, I am encouraged by what I have seen today in new management and training protocols.”

Governor Fletcher explained that his first priority is to assure that the nearly 300 residents at Oakwood will get the best care possible.

“Family members of Oakwood residents must know that we are committed to a high standard of care, and that they can rest assured we are doing everything we can to assure the residents’ safety,” Governor Fletcher said. “We also have some very dedicated workers at Oakwood, and we will do what it takes to support them.”

The Governor also discussed pending meetings this week with the federal Commission for Medicaid Services (CMS) and next week with Department of Justice, both relating to recent incidents at Oakwood.  “I am deeply concerned that our Medicaid funding for this facility may have been jeopardized, and I look forward to meeting with officials from Washington,” he added.

“Governor Fletcher and I have conducted a tour of the campus and talked with staff and residents.  It is our aim to support the efforts of Liberty and Oakwood directors to make adjustments and work with staff to correct what has been a chronic condition,” Secretary Birdwhistell said. 

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