BrightSpring Health Services will lay off 218 people after the state canceled a management contract and a provider certification for serving adults with intellectual disabilities.
The company, formerly known as ResCare, notified 125 employees at Bingham Gardens on Crums Lane in Louisville that the Kentucky Department for Behavioral, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities intends to switch its management contract to Lexington-based Bluegrass.org.
Separately, BrightSpring informed the Kentucky Labor Cabinet it will permanently lay off 93 employees at Community Alternatives of Kentucky, headquartered at 180 Mercury Blvd. in Somerset.
No replacement provider is being disclosed now because an appeal of that termination still may be filed, Doug Hogan, spokesman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said in an email.
In both letters required to notify the Kentucky Labor Cabinet of impending layoffs, BrightSpring’s Shannon McCracken, vice president and director of Kentucky operations, wrote that the cancellations came as a surprise.
The company had managed the Bingham Gardens facility since 2013. After going through a procurement process, it was notified Feb. 14 of the state’s decision not to renew with BrightSpring and turn over operations to Bluegrass.
Employees subject to the layoffs, including an executive director, four registered nurses and 95 support staff, can apply for jobs with Bluegrass, BrightSpring spokesman Barnard Baker said in an email.
At Somerset, the state cabinet informed BrightSpring on March 4 that it was pulling its certifications to operate two programs for adults with developmental disabilities who live in small group homes.
“This notice of termination came without warning” and wasn’t expected after the state renewed a two-year certification, according to the company’s letter.
Baker wrote that the termination “is largely the result of isolated incidents that took place at the facility in late 2018.” While not specifying what happened, Baker said the company opened internal investigations and reported details to local law enforcement and the state.
“The responsible employees were immediately suspended and ultimately terminated. These are isolated incidents that in no way reflect our company values. CAKY Somerset has had a strong history of providing quality services, evidenced by receiving a two-year certification from the state in the summer of 2018,” according to Baker’s email.
A business manager and 81 support staff were listed as those in line for layoffs by April 19.
BrightSpring is “cooperating with the state in the closure process while determining whether to appeal the termination. We are also working with guardians and case managers to ensure continuity of care for our clients throughout the process,” Baker said.
Advocates for adults with developmental disabilities in Louisville said they weren’t familiar with problems in Somerset, but concerns about Bingham Gardens were well known.
Donovan Fornwalt, executive director of the Council on Developmental Disabilities, a Louisville-based advocacy organization, said he’s been hearing of concerns about the facility in recent months from family members and professionals involved with the residents’ care.
Problems included supervision of residents and failure to get them to medical and other appointments, he said.
An ongoing concern was whether residents were getting involved in community activities, one of the goals for those living at Bingham Gardens, rather than remaining on-site for activities, Fornwalt said.
Bingham Gardens, on the grounds of Hazelwood, a state-run center for adults with disabilities, opened in fall 2011 after dozens of families demanded the state support a more homelike setting for their loved ones rather than the institutional facility at Central State.
The $10.4 million complex features six, four-person cottages and a medical and dental clinic.