South Dakota Wrongly Puts Thousands in Nursing Homes, Government Says

In a scathing rebuke of the state’s health care system, the Justice Department said on Monday that thousands of patients were being held unnecessarily in sterile, highly restrictive group homes.

News Story (South Dakota)

Matt Apuzzo
New York Times (NYT)
May 2, 2016

Tags: Disability Rights, Nursing Homes

Organizations mentioned/involved: Atlanta Legal Aid Society


While the administration has received widespread attention for investigating police abuses and supporting the rights of gay and transgender people, the Justice Department has also steadily made these cases part of its civil rights agenda. The government says that those efforts have allowed more than 53,000 Americans with disabilities to leave institutions or avoid them altogether. It is a small number compared with the 250,000 working-age people who are estimated to be needlessly living in nursing homes, but advocates say the federal campaign has had significant effects.

“There has been as much of a revolution in enforcing disability rights since 2009 as there has been for any other group in the county,” said Talley Wells, a disability lawyer with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.