The final two people living at Greene Valley Developmental Center transitioned to their new homes on Friday, effectively closing the state institution after more than 50 years of operation, state officials announced.
“People who lived at Greene Valley are now living rewarding lives in their communities,” Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Debra K. Payne said in a news release. “We are closing an important chapter in the history of supporting people with disabilities in Tennessee. It’s important to celebrate the huge advancements we’ve made, while remembering the important role Greene Valley played for 56 years.”
Over the past two years, DIDD has transitioned 84 people into community placements. Private providers in East Tennessee constructed 15 four-person homes for people living at Greene Valley whose families wished for them to transition to an intermediate care facility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all Greene Valley employees for the excellent care they have provided to people with disabilities for more than 50 years,” Payne said. “Also, the entire Greene County community has supported the facility and the people who live there, and we are extremely grateful for their continued partnership as we support people with intellectual disabilities in the community.”
Closure of Greene Valley Developmental Center was the final provision of an agreement allowing DIDD to resolve a federal lawsuit.
The suit was brought by People First of Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Justice in 1995, over conditions at Clover Bottom Developmental Center, Greene Valley and Nat T. Winston Developmental Center.
Nat T. Winston shut its doors in 1998. Clover Bottom was closed in late 2015.
In January 2016, a federal judge issued an order vacating injunctive relief and partially dismissing the long-standing lawsuit following an exit plan entered by the U.S. district court in January 2015.
The plan, which included nine sections of obligations for DIDD and the Bureau of TennCare, called for the case to be dismissed after two phases — all eight sections of responsibilities in one phase followed by a second phase overseeing closure of Greene Valley.
Local officials, including Greene County's representation in the Tennessee General Assembly, lobbied for the state to find a way to keep Greene Valley open.
For more details, see the Saturday edition of The Greeneville Sun.