/How much is enough’ Attorneys spar over question of how broken is Mississippi’s mental health system

How much is enough’ Attorneys spar over question of how broken is Mississippi’s mental health system

Drake, a New Hampshire psychiatrist, said that Drake believed he could help Mississippi. “But honestly, I was surprised by the Mississippi community-based system… I was surprised at least that the 154 patients in our study did not receive many of these services (Mississippi stated they were available).” The U.S. Department of Justice was Drake’s first expert witness in its lawsuit against Mississippi. It claims that it violates federal law by keeping people with mental illnesses in old-fashioned state hospitals, and failing to provide care for those who aren’t institutionalized. This is not about people falling through the cracks. Deena Fox, an attorney representing the Department of Justice in her opening statement Tuesday, the first day of trial, stated that this was a case of thousands of people falling through cracks in the state system. Mississippi didn’t deny that it could offer better mental health services. It only questioned whether it should, at least in accordance with Department of Justice standards. “The Department of Justice states that Mississippi should add more community-based services so that it can satisfy Olmstead. But, this begs the question: How much is enough? James Shelson, a private lawyer hired by the attorney general’s to handle the case, stated that the Department of Justice would not say. The Department of Justice’s main complaint revolves around Olmstead, a landmark Supreme Court case. The Americans with Disabilities Act was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in 1999. It prohibited people with mental illness from having the right to seek out mental health care in their own homes. These services include crisis intervention, medication assistance, and psychological services. They also provide housing and employment support. The Justice Department sent a letter to Mississippi in 2011 reprimanding it for continuing to rely and fund its state hospital system, while under-funding community services. The Justice Department sued Mississippi in 2016 for violating Olmstead because it felt the state was dragging its feet on improvements. Fox stated that Mississippi’s rollout of statewide community services should not be a problem because they exist already, although in a fragmented form. They also cost much less than institutional care. She projected a map of Mississippi using a slide projector. It showed which counties had access to Assertive Community Treatment Teams. These teams are intended to provide a range of mental health services for people with severe mental illnesses who live outside of hospitals. The map highlighted 14 counties. These services were not available in the remaining counties. Fox stated that this was yet more evidence of the inequal availability of services for people in the state. Ironically, Olmstead was the slide that the state used most often to counter the Department of Justice’s Olmstead argument. Shelson, an attorney representing Mississippi, presented excerpts from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s majority opinion in Olmstead at four times during his opening speech. Shelson highlighted the areas where she agreed with the fact that hospitals are essential for some patients and can continue costing the state money even after patients have moved to community-based care. Shelson also pointed out a section where she said “the state’s liability is not boundless.” Shelson stated that the Department of Justice basically allows them to seek unlimited relief without any limit. Reeves questioned Fox about the Department of Justice’s intent in this lawsuit after Fox had made her opening statement. “Does the United States expect that the court will take over the Mississippi mental healthcare system?” Reeves asked, “Is that what we are asking here at the conclusion of the day?” Fox noted that the deputy director of state Department of Mental Health admitted in a deposition that he didn’t know if there was an Olmstead plan. She stated that the state should develop an Olmstead Plan and follow it. Fox stated that the agency is aware of what it should do and could make changes._x000D