Intended for healthcare professionals


South Dakota illegally placed disabled people in nursing homes, federal investigation finds

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 04 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2532
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. Seattle

In violation of federal law, the state of South Dakota unnecessarily placed elderly people and people with disabilities in nursing facilities when they could have stayed in their homes and communities with appropriate support, a US Department of Justice investigation has found.

Under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and a subsequent Supreme Court ruling, states must provide people with disabilities services in the most integrated community setting appropriate to their needs, regardless of age or type of disability.

In a 2 May letter to South Dakota governor, Dennis Daugaard, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta said that many of the state’s elderly and disabled people were being sent to long term care facilities despite their preference for …

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