[Hpn] Oregon Olmstead case filed
Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:21:13 -0500
On Tue, 19 Dec 2000 13:16:45 -0800 Bailey/Schuder <jonna@TELEPORT.COM>
> PATIENTS FILE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST STATE FOR
> FAILURE TO PROVIDE NEEDED COMMUNITY PLACEMENTS
> FOR PEOPLE IN STATE PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTIONS
> 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.
> LITIGATION SUMMARY
> 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
> 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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