WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The nation's capital regained control of its mental health system on Thursday when a federal judge approved a settlement in a 37-year-old class-action lawsuit, the mayor's office said.
The District of Columbia's mental health system had been under court supervision since patients at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington's psychiatric center, accused the capital in 1974 of not providing enough community-based mental health services.
Under the settlement approved by U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, the District is committed to adding 300 affordable housing units and to expanding job services for adults with mental illness, the office of Mayor Vincent Gray said.
The District also will boost treatment services for children in the home and the community.
"This is an historic day in the District of Columbia, and this settlement affirms the significant progress we have made in building a high-quality, community-based mental health system," Gray said in the statement.
At the time the suit was filed, St. Elizabeths had more than 3,600 patients. It now has less than 300, and more than 20,000 District residents get community-based mental health treatment.
(Reporting By Ian Simpson; Editing by Greg McCune)
Wife of US Pastor Held in Iran: 'I Never Thought I’d Have to Battle My Own Gov't For My Husband’s Freedom' | Leah Barkoukis
Politifact: On Second Thought, Obama's 'Keep Your Plan' Pledge is 2013's 'Lie of the Year' | Guy Benson
Conservatives Clash as House Prepares to Vote on Ryan-Murray Budget Deal -- UPDATE: House passes 332-94 | Guy Benson
New White House Push: Sign Up For Obamacare Because It Will Give Your Mother "Piece of Mind" | Daniel Doherty
Heartbreaking: Dad Gives Up Trying to Obtain Health Insurance For His Ailing Son on the Exchanges | Daniel Doherty