But the deadline for corrections came and went last year with much work still undone. For example, the state had promised to move nearly 700 patients with developmental disabilities out of psychiatric hospitals into community settings by July 1, 2015. But more than 200 such patients remain in the hospitals. If it continued at the current pace, the Justice Department recently argued, the state would still be transferring patients 19 years from now.
Federal lawyers told Judge Pannell they are working to get the state to agree to transfer developmentally disabled patients “at a reasonable pace and in a safe and effective manner.” Federal authorities want the state to take special care with high-risk patients with complicated medical or behavioral issues.
The joint filing noted that state officials say they “have already undertaken, or are preparing to undertake, many of the activities the (Justice Department) has proposed.”