Washington, DC - The Justice Department Wednesday announced that it reached an agreement with the Louisiana Department of Health (Louisiana) to resolve its lawsuit alleging that Louisiana fails to serve people with serious mental illness in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that Louisiana places undue reliance on providing services in institutionalized settings such as nursing facilities, instead of in the community, for people with serious mental illness.
Under the agreement, Louisiana will create and implement a plan to expand community-based services like mobile crisis, case management, assertive community treatment, and supported housing to meet people’s needs in the community. In addition, Louisiana will assess all existing nursing facility residents with mental illness and all new referrals for admission to determine whether they can be served appropriately in the community.
“The ADA requires public entities to administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend Louisiana for committing to take the steps necessary to ensure that people with serious mental illness have the opportunity to live, work, and thrive in their own communities instead of being unnecessarily segregated in nursing facilities.”