Baton Rouge, La. (June 7, 2018) – The State of Louisiana and the Louisiana Department of Health announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to help ensure that people with serious mental illnesses have the opportunity to live in a community setting.
This agreement follows a review by the DOJ in December of 2016 that claimed Louisiana was unnecessarily relying on nursing facilities to serve people with serious mental illness. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, requires these individuals receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. Based on assessments, this may mean in a setting that is less restrictive than a nursing facility such as care in a home or community-based setting.
Through the agreement, the State will provide transition planning and support, as well as screening and evaluations to all individuals with serious mental illness who are currently living in a nursing facility. For individuals who may face nursing home placement, the State will look to improve on diverting these individuals to appropriate community-based services.
“I am pleased with our ability to work with the U.S. Department of Justice to agree on the most appropriate steps to best meet the needs of individuals with serious mental illness. The Louisiana Department of Health will continue our work to ensure quality services in the most integrated settings for people with a serious mental illness,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.
The Louisiana Department of Health has already implemented changes to allow more individuals with serious mental illness to live in community-based settings.
“This agreement builds upon the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration that has already succeeded in helping more than 2,500 people move from a nursing home into community-based settings,” added Michelle Alletto, deputy secretary, Louisiana Department of Health. “It is important for us to ensure that Louisiana residents with serious mental illness are living in the most appropriate settings, and we have already begun work to implement changes to assess these patients and determine their needs.”
The Louisiana Department of Health has begun to interview and assess patients with serious mental illness who are currently living in nursing homes. This evaluation will determine which individuals can safely transition from a facility into a community setting.
Other people with a serious mental illness and who are eligible for nursing home care but who have not yet been admitted to a facility, will be screened with the intent of reducing their length of stay or preventing placement when possible.
These changes build on the Department of Health’s ongoing commitment to providing high quality health care services in the optimal patient-centered setting.
About the Louisiana Department of Health
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. The Louisiana Department of Health includes the Office of Public Health, Office of Aging & Adult Services, Office of Behavioral Health, Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, and Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid). To learn more, visit www.ldh.la.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or our blog.