Friday, January 16, 2009

Georgia announces settlement with Department of Justice on state's mental health system

The U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Georgia announced a settlement in the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act case against the state's seven mental health hospitals.
On first glance it appears the state will have to improve in the areas of "choking and aspiration risk assessment and prevention, suicide risk assessment and prevention, patient on patient assault prevention and enforce more consistent emergency medical codes in the first year of the agreement."
Note that in the governor's release there is less mention of "ensure that patients are free from undue bodily restraint." No blame cake to be eaten here.
The majority of the DOJ's findings were based on the Georgia Regional Hospital in Atlanta, and it is still unclear whether DOJ made it down to Milledgeville to inspect the mother of all Georgia mental health facilities.
But we should see in the next week or so whether Asylum City will continue to be an appropriate nick name after this session of the General Assembly.
More to come as the settlement is still pending approval by a federal judge.
Read the AJC's article about the settlement and the steps to come here.

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