State of Mississippi seeks stay of mental health case ruling

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 1:54 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The state of Mississippi is seeking a partial stay of a ruling designed to bring its mental health system into compliance with federal law.

The motion was filed about three weeks after U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves issued a ruling in the United States’ case against Mississippi, ordering the state to submit its initial plan to bring its mental health offerings up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The court had given the state 120 days to submit its initial plan and its final implementation plan within 180 days of the ruling.

On September 27, the state filed a motion for a stay of certain provisions of the order, saying it was going to appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“As Mississippi undertakes careful and thorough efforts to perform its obligations under the order, it is appropriate to partially stay a few parts... that require immediate action, substantial new funding and a fundamental alteration of Mississippi’s mental health system,” attorneys for the Magnolia State write.

Those provisions include holding off on the requirement that Mississippi implement a plan to provide peer support services at its satellite Community Mental Health Centers, that it funds hundreds of more CHOICE housing vouchers in 2022 and 2023 fiscal years, and that it develops an implementation plan within 120 days.

The state also is asking that the court stay Mississippi’s requirement to develop and implement a clinical review process while the case is on appeal.

“Absent a partial stay, Mississippi will suffer irreparable injuries from undue interference with its mental health system and a fundamental alteration of that system both in costs and structure,” attorneys for the state wrote.

The state goes on to say that the stay should be granted becuase Mississippi already “has expanded community-based services and now complies, or at least substantially complies, with the ADA.”

It was not known when the court would grant a decision.

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