CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A 1981 lawsuit addressing mental health patients’ rights to humane conditions and therapeutic treatment has been dismissed in West Virginia.
A Kanawha County circuit judge dismissed the case after 40 years of litigation and negotiations, the state Department of Health and Human Resources said Thursday.
Under the dismissal order, the DHHR will continue funding community-based mental health services and independent patient advocates at two hospitals.
DHHR also will establish an Office of the Mental Health Ombudsman to transition from judicial oversight to a departmental administrative process.
“It took an open dialogue and the development of trust among all parties to bring this matter to conclusion,” DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said in a statement. “Our journey in caring for those with mental health conditions and disabilities, however, does not end here. We must continue what we have started, and we still have much to do.”