WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Justice Department released its findings Dec. 21 that Louisiana unnecessarily relies on nursing facilities to provide services to people with mental health disabilities. This alleged conduct violates the community integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C.
Under the ADA, states must make services available to people with disabilities in the most integrated community setting appropriate for each individual’s needs. According to the Justice Department, many individuals in Louisiana with mental illnesses who rely on the state for services have to live in a nursing facility away from their community. The department states that these individuals could live in more integrated settings with access to proper, evidence-based community services.
“Louisiana residents with mental illness who can and want to live in their own homes and communities deserve the chance to do so,” said principal deputy assistant attorney general Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We appreciate Louisiana’s cooperation with our investigation and hope to continue working with state officials to ensure that residents with serious mental illness who qualify for state services can live successfully in their communities with appropriate supports.”