Receivership to End on Mental Health

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Wednesday, April 4, 2001; 12:00 AM

A federal judge has cleared the way for the D.C. government to regain control of the city mental health system, most likely within several months.

The system has been in receivership since 1997, the result of a lawsuit filed by mental health advocates over the quality of care and other issues. On Monday, Chief U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson approved a transition plan developed by the city, mental health advocates and a court-appointed receiver.

The D.C. Commission on Mental Health Services serves more than 10,000 clients at St. Elizabeths Hospital and several outpatient clinics. The receiver, Dennis R. Jones, and Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) will soon name a director of a new department to run the system. The new director and Jones will set a timetable for switching control back to the city. In a related step, the D.C. Council passed legislation yesterday creating the D.C. Department of Mental Health.

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