Investigating State Nursing Home Procedures

Beginning in early 2013, the AC had a series of meetings with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJ) regarding the State’s overuse of nursing homes in providing services to persons with mental illness. We advised the DOJ that were formally filing a complaint.

In October 2014, DOJ notified the state that it was initiating an investigation to determine whether “the State of Louisiana unnecessarily institutionalizes in nursing facilities individuals with mental illness, in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.The investigation took almost two years to resolve. On September 21, DOJ issued its findings in a 30-page report.

The DOJ found that the State has consistently failed to live up to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

The report shows that the state has been using nursing homes to house people with mental health disabilities instead of using community based services. The DOJ went through specific examples: failure to properly follow Pre-Admission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) Screening (PASSR) procedures designed to prevent the unnecessary institutionalization of persons with mental illness, failing to address the over-incarceration of person with mental illness, failing to ensure that there is an adequate supply of permanent supportive housing, creating never-ending waitlists for waiver services, and other violations.  

As a result of its findings, DOJ is requiring the State to “promptly implement remedial measures to protect the civil rights of individuals with serious mental illness in, or at serious risk of entering, nursing facilities and to remedy the deficiencies discussed above, taking into account the needs and preferences of each individual with serious mental illness.” And as of August 2017, a settlement with the state is still pending.