On November 12, 2019, the Arizona Center for Disability settled a lawsuit against the Arizona State Hospital (ASH) and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). ACDL filed this lawsuit in 2018 to ensure it had the access necessary to monitor ASH facilities and ensure patients are not subject to abuse and neglect, as required by law.
Under the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act, ACDL is required to monitor the conditions of facilities housing individuals with mental illness, educate facility residents about their rights, and investigate incidents of abuse and neglect at those facilities. In the lawsuit, ACDL alleged that ASH impeded their ability to accomplish this mandate by denying ACDL unaccompanied access to the facility and its residents.
Under the terms of the settlement, ASH agreed to provide ACDL reasonable unaccompanied access to the ASH facilities and residents in compliance with the requirements of the PAIMI Act. ASH also agreed to ACDL conducting up to three-hour visits twice per week for the purpose of educating ASH residents about their rights and the services that ACDL provides. The agreement also sets forth a dispute resolution process if ASH denies or delays ACDL’s access in the future.
“This agreement enables ACDL to accomplish its mandates to monitor the conditions at ASH, educate ASH residents about their rights, and investigate alleged incidents of abuse and neglect at ASH,” said Asim Dietrich, Staff Attorney.
“We believe this settlement creates a framework for ACDL and ASH to work together to increase transparency. Through that collaboration, we hope to further our mutual goals: to promote residents’ rights and improve their quality of life,” said Chris Carlsen, Staff Attorney.
Established in 1995, the Arizona Center for Disability Law is a federally designated Protection and Advocacy System (P&A) for the State of Arizona. P&As throughout the United States ensure that the human and civil rights of persons with disabilities are protected. ACDL employs over 25 professionals at its Tucson and Phoenix offices.