Two weeks ago, Georgia reached a historic settlement with the Federal Government regarding treatment in mental health care for Georgia’s most vulnerable residents — those who live in state hospitals or under the state’s auspices.
Recently, I had the pleasure to sit down with Thomas H. Bornemann, Ed.D., the Director of the Carter Center Mental Health Program to talk to him about the settlement.
John M. Grohol, Psy.D.: What are some of the highlights of that settlement?
Thomas H. Bornemann, Ed.D. Well, we think this is a groundbreaker, and a lot of our colleagues from around the country that we talked to are also seeing it similarly.
What we were able to do is to take a lawsuit that is essentially about inadequate care in institutional settings — in our state hospitals, in particular — and forge out of that settlement, recognition of the central role in community based care if we are ever going to get our arms around these populations. This is not breaking news that state hospitals are a thing of the past — large monolithic state hospitals — and we still had them in this state and that had to change.
I think we are not the only state like that, and we are not the only state facing daunting budget challenges. But within that context we still have responsibilities towards the members of our state and citizens who, because of no fault of their own, need to have care provided by the state. The state is not resolved of responsibility for providing safe and humane care in the most appropriate setting.
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