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February 3, 2012

Virginia Closes Mental Facilities

Virginia is moving to shut down four of its five mental facilities by the year 2022.  US Justice Department representatives are stating this is a “landmark agreement” after the state settled with the department because the facilities didn’t follow the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.  These shutdowns will mandate Virginia to create more community living options for people with physical/mental challenges.

“In virtually every corner of the country, we’re hearing similar stories, parents who quit their jobs to care for their child,” Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General, said. “It doesn’t take a math whiz to know that you can serve more people and you can do it better (in the community).”

This settlement requires Virginia to implement approximately 4,200 home and community living Medicaid-based waivers.  Virginia will also have to improve crisis services.  Housing and employment programs will increase because of the settlement.

This is the third settlement the justice department has initiated with mental facilities in three years.  Other states are looking to expand their options towards community living.  These states include: Mississippi, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.

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