State Governments being Sued for their Quality of Care for Persons with Cognitive Disabilities
- Published on Thursday, 16 February 2012 06:06
Lawsuits supporting the improvement of state government's care of those with mental, intellectual and developmental disabilities have been on the rise. Both New Hampshire and Virginia have been accused of violating the rights of those with mental, intellectual and developmental disabilities.
On February 9th a lawsuit against New Hampshire was reportedly filed. It alleged that the state needlessly confines the disabled to institutions because services are lacking to treat them in the community. Ironically, New Hampshire was lauded by the National Institute of Mental Health as a leader in providing community services for the mentally ill in the late 1980s. Since then admissions to New Hampshire Hospital and Glencliff House in Benton have "skyrocketed" from 900 in 1989 to 2,300 in 2010. Amy Messer, the legal director of the Disabilities Rights Center commented, "Once sent to Glencliff, few people ever return to their community, over the years more people have died at Glencliff than have returned to their community."
An investigation initiated in 2008 expanded to 2010 to cover Virginia's comprehensive system of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which includes five state training centers and other community-based services. A report from the DOJ in February 2011 concluded that the state did not provide services in the most integrated and appropriate setting nor did it have a sufficient amount of community services. Additionally, the report showed that the training centers discharge process was significantly flawed. Gov. Bob Mcdonnell has announced a 2 billion dollar settlement agreement between the state of Va. and the US department of Justice regarding Va.'s compliance with the Americans with Disability Act.