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Justice Department Reaches Agreement With New York City to Correct Conditions at Kings County Hospital Center
Date:1/8/2010

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York today announced that they have entered into an agreement with New York City to correct conditions of confinement at the Kings County Hospital Center's (KCHC) psychiatric emergency room and psychiatric in-patient units located in Brooklyn, N.Y. The agreement, in the form of a consent judgement, was approved today by U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto.

Under the terms of the consent judgment, New York City will work to ensure that patients at KCHC are safe and receive the care and services necessary to meet their individual needs. The agreement underscores the city's obligation to actively pursue discharge of patients to the most integrated setting appropriate based on their needs and follow-up services, consistent with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court's ruling in Olmstead v. L.C. In addition, the city has agreed to undertake a variety of measures, including improving medical and mental health care, and ensuring that patients are free from undue restraint.

A joint investigation of the psychiatric units at KCHC began in December 2007, under provisions of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). The investigation uncovered systemic deficiencies that violated the constitutional and civil rights of patients with psychiatric disabilities. These violations included failure to protect patients from harm, failure to treat the psychiatric disabilities of patients, the use of drugs to sedate rather than treat patients, failure to provide adequate and individualized discharge planning and follow-up services, falsification of patient medical records, and failure to respond promptly to medical emergencies.

These violations and others contributed to the death of at least one patient in June 2008
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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