Home > Uncategorized > Continuing drop in number of residents threatens continued existence of DDS state-run facilities

Continuing drop in number of residents threatens continued existence of DDS state-run facilities

New data that COFAR has received from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) shows the number of residents or the census at both the Wrentham Developmental Center and Hogan Regional Center continued to drop from Fiscal Years 2019 through 2022.

The data, which was provided by DDS last week under a Public Records Law request, shows that as of Fiscal Year 2022, the census at the Wrentham Center was 182, down from a high of 323 in Fiscal 2013 — a 44% drop.  The census at Hogan was down to 95 in 2022, from a high of 159 in 2011. That is a drop of 40%.

Previous data from DDS showed that the total census in the state-operated group homes declined from a high of 1,206 in Fiscal 2015, to 1,097 in 2021 — a 9% drop.

Meanwhile, the census in the state’s much larger network of privatized group homes has continued to climb, rising from 6,677 to 8,290 between 2008 and 2021 — a 24% increase. (See the graphs below.)

Hogan now has well under 100 residents remaining, and Wrentham is well under 200. Since August 2021, DDS has closed seven state-operated group homes and subsequently reopened one.

But more troubling than those closures is the fact that DDS does not inform individuals and families seeking residential placements that these state-run facilities even exist. Last fall, we wrote about a rare admission to the Wrentham Center, but that appears to have been the exception. We have heard from several people who have been unsuccessful in seeking placements for their loved ones in either ICFs or state-operated group homes.

That policy decision by DDS to discourage or block new admissions guarantees that the number of residents in state-run residential care will continue to drop, and that the ICF’s, in particular, will eventually be closed.


Source: DDS

DDS says it has no records on plans to close Wrentham or Hogan

Despite the continuing downward trend in the census at Wrentham and Hogan, DDS said in response last week to our Public Records request that they have no records concerning projections or plans to close those facilities. We have appealed that response to the state supervisor of public records, arguing that the Department did not indicate that it had done a search for such internal plans or projections.

Given the declining census at both Hogan and Wrentham, we believe it is unlikely that there are no departmental emails or other records at least discussing the possibility that these facilities will eventually close.

ICFs and state-operated group homes are vital backstops for care

State-run residential facilities are vital to the fabric of care in the DDS system. As Olmstead v. L.C., the landmark 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision, recognized, there is a segment of the population with I/DD that cannot benefit from and does not desire community-based care. ICFs, in particular, must meet stringent federal standards for care that make them uniquely appropriate settings for persons with the most profound levels of disability and medical issues.

The ever-expanding network of group homes in Massachusetts that are run by corporate providers that contract with DDS have become bottom-line operations that meet minimal standards for direct-care pay and training. Abuse and neglect are rampant problems in the group home system. Meanwhile, the executives running these provider organizations have seen their salaries skyrocket in recent years.

As funding for the ICFs and state-operated group homes has declined or remained stagnant respectively over the past decade, funding for the corporate-run group home system has grown steadily to over $1.4 billion today.

Allowing the state-run network of care in Massachusetts to wither and die through underfunding and attrition will lead to a catastrophic decline in the level of care and services for some of our most vulnerable residents.

  1. Anonymous
    January 26, 2023 at 11:21 am

    I would like to know what state run group homes are near me. I was never told they existed. I assume the people that work there are better paid than the people who work in the private homes and this is a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen Faiola
    January 26, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    My question is; Why is DDS discouraging and blocking new admissions to these facilities? What’s their ultimate agenda?

    Liked by 1 person

    • itanzman
      January 26, 2023 at 2:54 pm

      If they create large corporate institutions that serve very large groups of people and make them too big to fail, these institutions which serve individuals in small homes in residential communities become the only option available. They and the DDS will have the power to re-create the conditions in the institutions of the past.


    • LB ex DDS Nurse
      February 10, 2023 at 11:32 am

      They are slowly killing off some of the high need residents (poor care) and allowing the others to die via natural course with the long term plan of exiting the residential care market, turning all over to vendor group homes. They say one thing and do another. Truth is, they were forced into this home care residential sector with the closing of Fernald, Belchertown, etc. by the courts.
      I watched this resident’s physician orders repeatedly ignored as she was fed the wrong texture food (was to be strained and pureed) and she aspirated for the final time after tossed in bed (orders stated to remain upright in her wheelchair for 90 minutes) where she inhaled her own vomit. When I and other nurses brought up the fact doctor’s orders were not being followed we were bullied and written up with lie after lie. Ultimately I had the displeasure of being one of the nurses chosen to be on the hospice team to remain by her side until she passed. She passed due to the negligence of state works/PSS’s.
      This is all swept under the rug. The state was happy she died, one less complicated case to care for. Such a disgrace. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324299104578527761865028482


  3. Gail
    January 26, 2023 at 2:12 pm

    My son would never receive the level of care in a group home like he receives at Hogan. His medical needs could not be met in a group home. I now this because he lived in a state op group home for several years. Hogan has 24/7 nursing and a doctor or NP present M-F , the group homes do not. It’s my understanding the the private group homes do not provide the same level of care as the state op group homes. My son would not survive in a setting other than Hogan.
    There will always be people who need this level of care. Therefore I don’t see how ICF could ever be closed. I agree the state does not offer this level of care or make it well known and is pushing private group homes. That’s why numbers are falling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • itanzman
      January 26, 2023 at 2:47 pm

      How did you get your son into Hogan, Gail? We need more help to get our kids into these programs. We all need to stick together. How about if we have a meeting (videoconferencing) on this topic? If anyone is interested in collaborating in this effort, please contact me through my website at https://irenetanzman.com/contact-me/. There are many individuals in the corporate system who do not receive the healthcare they need. Instead, they die early. That is why life expectancy for these individuals are twenty years younger than the general population. Hitler’s plan for people with IDD was to murder them. We don’t do that here in modern day Massachusetts because we are civilized. Instead, we let them suffer with undiagnosed conditions and then let them die in pain- all the while championing the virtues of “community living.” DDS doesn’t inform families of the state system, but that’s not the whole problem. When families really need this type of care, DDS will do everything possible to make sure the individual cannot access the service.


      • Gail
        January 26, 2023 at 3:05 pm

        He’s been at Hogan for 9 yrs. Maybe it was easier than to get people admitted. He had been sick, in and out of hospital. He required oxygen during recovery and group home did not want him there with oxygen. They recommended a nursing home . After several conversations with nursing homes and discussions about his care it was decided they couldn’t meet his needs. So I reached out to head of NRS state op group homes and strongly advocated for his admission/trial at Hogan. Once he was there , it was decided he was where he needed to be. I have never regretted moving him there. He’s in the best place he could be. I don’t think my husband and I could give the same level of care.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gail
        January 26, 2023 at 3:39 pm

        I contacted the head of NRS , state group homes, and strongly advocated for an admission/trial at Hogan. The group home wouldn’t let my son return because he needed oxygen while recovering. They wanted a nursing home which could not provide what he needed. That was 9 yrs ago. He is in the best place. We couldn’t give him all the care he needs at home.


    • itanzman
      January 26, 2023 at 3:13 pm

      It sounds like DDS was stuck because of the oxygen- so they gave in.


  4. janet marcus
    February 13, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    Having known how my sister managed in a group home going to my parents home every weekend & eventually requiring my own intervention have totally negative feelings about group homes. There must be some that are good but not what was in Quincy. No toys for anyone but my sister. My mother gave a toy to 1 young man who never was without it after that. Beautiful screened in back porch. No residents were ever out there. Many parades nearby which residents were never taken to. Clothes stolen as soon as I brought them to the home or maybe they walked away. Allowed to check basement where they did not exist. Had a closet builder rebuild the closet so no out of season clothes could be in the basement. That helped a great deal. My sister had a seizure when she arrived back 1 day. Those working there did not know what was happening. I was present to tell them what it was. The list goes on – none of it good. When an opportunity arose I told the driver to take her to Wrentham. Knew they would take her in, & then he was to leave her. That is where she stayed. You must be forceful, take the clients to be seen by the politicians in a group is best. They don’t know what is going on – out of sight then out of mind.


    • February 14, 2023 at 7:47 pm

      Janet, I’m not sure I’m understanding your post correctly, did you just have someone leave your sister off at Wrentham? – and then they just let her stay?


      • jane
        February 15, 2023 at 2:14 pm

        YES She had used the dentist there for yrs, but yes I knew exactly what I was doing & what would happen. She had been at Dever, promised a new place that didn’t happen & ended up in Quincy where my parents lived. The place in Braintree for rehab was shut down also. Just need to always know what is happening. Pictures had been taken at Brigham by people there & by me showing the horrid condition my sister was in. You cannot tolerate inhumanity!


      • itanzman
        February 15, 2023 at 4:14 pm

        Many thanks for your comment. I understand why you did that, but I think that this wouldn’t be a good strategy for some individuals. The best way would be to get officially accepted and then advocate for a well-thought-out transition plan. I would like to talk to you if you have the time. If you have the time and wouldn’t mind talking to me, please contact me via my website: https://irenetanzman.com/contact-me/


  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: