Louise Fisher: Where patients live

November 23, 2012 

Where patients live

Recent N&O articles regarding adult care homes and group homes describe the fears and frustrations of the mentally ill. These problems are the direct result of our previous administration’s continued lack of concern for N.C. citizens who have mental illness.

In 2000, the Department of Health and Human Services gave state hospitals quotas and deadlines for getting rid of patients. Discharge reports reveal patients were sent to adult care homes, shelters, streets and even unknowns. In their eagerness to downsize hospitals and empty Dorothea Dix, they knowingly ignored federal Medicaid rules regarding adult care home placements.

There are no plans whatsoever to close group homes and put people on the streets – as is continually being done to hospitalized mental patients. Per Medicaid changes, funding cuts only affect residents receiving the extra personal care services they don't have to have. It was cruel to tell residents they would lose their homes.

Gov. Beverly Perdue and legislators are working to solve the problem. DHHS has a continued history of having to return millions and some fines for wrongful use of Medicaid funds. Abiding by the rules would save money and better serve mental patients.

Louise Fisher

Raleigh

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