Pennsylvania to release hundreds from state-run mental health facilities as part of lawsuit resolution

    Associated Press – Hundreds of mentally disabled Pennsylvanians in state-run facilities are to be released to the community over the next four years.

    The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reports at least 50 patients will be released in the coming year. That number rises to 100 annually by the end of 2014.

    The releases are part of the resolution of a federal court case brought by five disabled patients against the Department of Public Welfare.

    The suit claimed the state was violating federal rules by not having a system for patients to get out of state-run facilities. One plaintiff had been institutionalized for 45 years.

    Advocates for the mentally disabled are praising the releases but express concern about the strain of added patients and decreased funding.

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