[Hpn] Oregon Olmstead case filed

Thomas Cagle nh-adapt@juno.com
Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:21:13 -0500

On Tue, 19 Dec 2000 13:16:45 -0800 Bailey/Schuder <jonna@TELEPORT.COM>
>  A press conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 
> 19, 2000, at the offices of the Oregon Advocacy Center (OAC), 620 SW 
> Fifth Avenue, 5th floor, to announce the filing of a class action 
> lawsuit against the state.  The case is brought on behalf of ten 
> (10) persons who reside in the state's psychiatric institutions..  
> Each has been found by the state's treating professionals to be 
> ready for discharge to the community; however, there are no suitable 
> community placements.  As a result, many of the plaintiffs have been 
> unlawfully held in state institutions for nearly a year.
>  In June of 1999, the United States Supreme Court, in a similar 
> case, found that it violated Title II of the Americans with 
> Disabilities Act to hold people in institutions when they are ready 
> for discharge to the community.  Oregon has no comprehensive state 
> plan for addressing the need.
>  "The lack of community placements has been the number one problem 
> we have been facing for the past 15 years," according to OAC's 
> Janice Perciano, an advocate who regularly works with patients at 
> the state hospitals.  "It's time to find a systemic remedy, instead 
> of pushing for release on a case by case basis."  
>  The importance of this case is underscored by Miranda B., one of 
> the named plaintiffs.
> "There needs to be a place for everyone.  Right now, people are left 
> twisting in the wind.  When placements are offered and then taken 
> away, it is frustrating and people become hopeless." Plaintiffs are 
> represented by the Oregon Advocacy Center and Davis, Wright, 
> Tremaine, LLP.
>  Miranda B., et al. v. John Kitzhaber, et al.
>  This is an action brought by ten individual patients at Oregon's 
> two psychiatric institutions, on behalf of themselves and a class of 
> over 100 people who are awaiting release and community placement.  
> Each suffers from a mental disability, but no longer requires 
> treatment in the state hospitals.  According to the state's treating 
> professionals, these people can best be served in the community.  
> Some of the plaintiffs have been waiting a year and a half to be 
> released; many have waited for nearly a year for a community 
> placement.
>  In June of 1999, the United States Supreme Court, in Olmstead v. 
> L.C., a federal case from Georgia, held that the state violated 
> Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act when it failed to 
> provide treatment for people with mental disabilities in the "most 
> integrated setting" appropriate to their needs.  To meet the 
> requirements of the ADA, the State of Oregon needs to adopt an 
> effective, comprehensive plan to place people in the community with 
> the supports they need.  To date, no such plan exists, despite the 
> fact that the state has known about the problem for years.  Instead, 
> people in the hospitals wait months for community beds, while others 
> who need hospitalization stay in acute care facilities, at 
> tremendous expense to the state, waiting for a bed to come open at 
> Oregon State Hospital or Eastern Oregon Psychiatric Center.
>  The relief plaintiffs seek is individualized treatment that 
> comports with professional standards for treatment of persons with 
> plaintiffs' disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate 
> to their needs.  For some, that is a bed in a secure residential 
> treatment facility.  For others, it is placement in a group home 
> with medical supports, or with specialized therapy available on an 
> outpatient basis.  Continued hospitalization of such patients is a 
> violation of their legal rights and, in many cases, is damaging to 
> their mental and emotional health.
>  The defendants are John Kitzhaber, Governor of the State of Oregon, 
> Gary Weeks, Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services, and 
> the Department itself.  Defendants are responsible for ensuring that 
> the Department of Human Services acts in compliance with federal 
> laws and the U.S. Constitution.
> FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen L. Wilde (503) 243-2081 

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