Feds investigating Miss. mental health system

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The U.S Department of Justice is investigating whether Mississippi’s mental health system is discriminating against disabled persons by funding large psychiatric institutions at the expense of community-based care.

Jan Schaefer, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jim Hood, says federal officials informed Hood’s office about the investigation this past week.

The Justice Department is looking into whether Mississippi is complying with a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that patients have a right to access care in their communities, contingent upon resources, and that unnecessarily institutionalizing them violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In 2001, Mississippi passed a law to follow the Supreme Court ruling.