Get ready for the search for new mental health care funding to join the search for new transportation funding and the search for new trauma care funding.
From The AJC:
Georgia may have little choice but to overhaul its mental health care system. Since 2003, the Justice Department has found violations of civil rights and other laws in 10 hospitals in five states and the District of Columbia. Only two states fought the findings in court, but they ultimately gave in.
When such serious problems are found, court-appointed monitors have been assigned to supervise the hospitals in those states; the Justice Department oversaw Hawaii's mental health system for more than a dozen years. Monitors generally have free rein to examine the hospitals. Should they find a state isn't living up to a settlement agreement, judges may order even tougher sanctions.
Moreover, settlements have forced the states to spend heavily —- nearly half a billion dollars in North Carolina alone.
No estimates were immediately available on the cost to bring Georgia's hospitals up to standards. But experts in mental health care said the Justice Department's 65-page letter to Gov. Sonny Perdue detailed an unusually high number of deficiencies in a surprisingly accusatory tone.