Nelson Appointed to Serve as D.C. Mental Health Receiver

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From News Services and Staff Reports
Friday, September 12, 1997; 12:00 AM

Scott H. Nelson, a psychiatrist and federal public health official, has been appointed to serve as D.C. mental health receiver for two years beginning Oct. 15.

Nelson was appointed by U.S. District Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr., who ruled in July that the city had failed for 22 years to comply with court orders in a class-action lawsuit, Dixon v. Barry, filed on behalf of mentally ill residents.

Nelson currently is chief of mental health and social service programs for the Indian Health Service of the U.S. Public Health Service in New Mexico. He also has served as state mental health commissioner in Pennsylvania and New Mexico.

In Washington, he will be responsible for running the city's $181 million Commission on Mental Health Services, which operates St. Elizabeths Hospital and serves more than 7,000 clients at the hospital and at community-based centers.

"Dr. Nelson has the credentials needed to implement the court's long-ignored orders in this case," said Peter J. Nickles, a lawyer with Covington & Burling who represents mentally ill plaintiffs in the Dixon case. "He has a track record of institutional reform and success in developing {a} community-based mental health system, which is precisely what we have asked the District to do for the last 22 years."

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