Thursday, September 10, 2009

New York violated mental health consumers' rights, judge rules

A federal judge has ruled that the state of New York violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by placing thousands of mentally ill consumers in nursing homes rather than community housing.
According to the Associated Press on September 8, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis of Brooklyn ruled that the state violated the rights of more than 4,300 mentally ill citizens. According to the judge, the ADA requires the state to house people "in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs."
The judge found that the plaintiff, the nonprofit Disability Advocates, had proven that most of the mentally ill consumers could live in supportive housing.
Observers stated that some of the most key testimony came from Dr. Kenneth Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He testified, in essence, that nursing homes were more restrictive than mental hospitals of the past.
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