The State of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Justice announced on October 19 a comprehensive settlement of a lawsuit that had alleged unlawful segregation of individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities in state institutions in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision (which requires states to serve individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs). The State of Georgia has agreed to increase its assertive community treatment, case management, supported housing and supported employment programs to serve 9,000 persons with mental illness more effectively in community settings over the next five years. To reduce admissions to state hospitals, Georgia has also agreed to increase community crisis services centers, crisis stabilization programs, and mobile crisis units. Georgia also plans to move at least 1,000 individuals with developmental disabilities from state institutions to community settings, and to increase crisis, respite, family, and housing support services for such individuals in community settings. Georgia has committed $15 million to begin to implement the settlement agreement this fiscal year and another $62 million to expand its efforts next year. Over the last 18 months the Justice Department has joined and filed briefs in Olmstead-related lawsuits in at least five other states, while remaining involved in on-going lawsuits elsewhere, and Georgia’s settlement agreement is being widely praised as a model for other states.
About Tom Entrikin
A former policy specialist with the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration (now Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)), Tom Entrikin has vast experience providing technical assistance to states on Medicaid eligibility, coverage, and reimbursement; provider certification and enrollment; program integrity; recovery of third party liabilities; Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) performance specifications and operations; interagency agreements; contracts with managed care organizations; and Medicaid waiver programs.