Central Virginia Training Center

Central Virginia Training Center in Madison Heights is in the process of closing. It recently announced 14 layoffs.

Central Virginia Training Center continued scaling down by announcing Thursday that 14 people would be laid off in a month, according to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

The 30-day notices came after CVTC employees met with administration regarding layoff and severance package policies Monday.

“Today’s layoff notices, while unfortunate, reflect the reality that CVTC staff members must be proportionate with the declining census and the need to move residents out of aging buildings,” DBHDS Interim Commissioner Dr. Jack Barber said in a written statement .

The Madison Heights facility serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is slated to close in 2020 as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

In June 2011 prior to a settlement agreement , CVTC housed 1,084 residents, according to DBHDS. The population had dropped below 160 as of April 11, Acting Facility Director David Cole said that day.

In March 2011, CVTC employed 1,319 people full- and part-time, a number that had dropped last week to 653.

CVTC’s layoffs included “support staff” but not nurses or direct care workers, DBHDS spokeswoman Maria Reppas said Thursday.

“CVTC has used the provisions of the state’s layoff and severance policies to soften the impact on affected individuals as much as possible,” Barber’s statement said.

While cutting some positions, CVTC administration must maintain others, including nurses and direct care staff, until the facility closes in 2020, a challenge as people retire or leave, Cole said. CVTC conducts two hiring rounds each month, he said.

“We still struggle to make sure that we still have a hiring class,” Cole said .

A nursing shortage led to CVTC no longer offering skilled nursing care as of Jan. 31, resulting in at least six people being transferred to Hiram W. Davis Medical Center in Petersburg, according to DHBDS.

Three of those individuals died, including 23-year-old patient Tyler Bryant. Bryant’s death influenced the DOJ to intensify an investigation into the patients’ tranfer, according to state Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel.

Four of the state’s five training centers are slated to close by 2020 as part of the DOJ settlement agreement, which stemmed from a civil rights investigation at CVTC.

Although the current plan calls for closing all but the Chesapeake facility, the 2017 General Assembly added some uncertainty .

The legislature charged its joint subcommittee consulting on the training center closures with considering to maintain CVTC, Southwestern Virginia Training Center, or adopt another option.

The group comprised of members from the Senate and House of Delegates is expected to meet this summer.

Contact Alex Rohr at arohr@newsadvance.com. Find him on Twitter: @arohr_reporter

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