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July 11, 2012

Commission to decide SORC closure

ENID — A plan to close one of two state-run facilities for the developmentally disabled is expected to come to a vote of the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services on July 24.

 

The plan would close Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley and transfer clients to Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid.

 

State Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, has begun a letter-writing campaign with local civic clubs to urge Gov. Mary Fallin to support the plan. Fallin has not indicated which way she will go on the plan and has appointed the past two OCHS members, Anderson said. There are about 245 residents housed at the two facilities.

 

Mike Peck, an Enid optometrist and  chairman of the OCHS property committee, gave a report during the June OCHS meeting in which he proposed closing SORC and keeping NORCE open. Both facilities need repairs, but NORCE is in better condition and more capable of housing SORC residents almost immediately, the report states.

 

Peck said he and other commissioners met with staff members with Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) of Oklahoma Department of Human Services. DDSD staff members will come up with the plan to be voted on by OCHS, he said.

 

“The state can’t continue to operate two facilities because of the cost of maintenance. It is too expensive. We must look at doing something,” Anderson said.

 

NORCE provides a residential center, medical and dental services, physical therapy, job skills and the recycling center, where many residents are employed, Anderson said.

 

“Enid is far superior and ready to take on additional clients,” he said. “We are trying to ensure Dr. Peck’s plan gets a vote at the July meeting, because the deadline is August 2013 when the SORC facility will no longer meet health department guidelines to continue to operate.”

 

Anderson said it is important to begin a plan to transfer residents. Peck’s plan gives families of residents the option of transferring them to NORCE or placing them in private care, Anderson said.

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