Monday, February 17, 2014

Still Far from Over

They won. The state won. The case was dismissed. So why doesn't it feel like it's over?

Last week, a federal district judge dismissed the law suit against the State of Nevada filed by James Flavy Coy Brown. Governor Brian Sandoval's (R-Denial) media spinners spokespeople quickly declared "victory" and resumed sweeping this inconvenient scandal under the rug. And ACLU Nevada (who sued alongside Brown) has yet to decide where to take this case next.

So why doesn't it seem like this case is over? Perhaps that's because it's not. Even if this specific law suit doesn't proceed further, the State of Nevada nonetheless faces more consequences for its mental health patient dumping.

But how so? San Francisco's separate federal suit against Nevada is still pending. Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital has already lost federal accreditation and is now at risk of losing federal funding. And the scandal has spread beyond Rawson-Neal & Southern Nevada as increased scrutiny of Nevada's failing mental health care system exposed overcrowding woes at Lake's Crossing Psychiatric Hospital in Sparks.

That's why it came as no surprise that the US Civil Rights Commission held a hearing on Nevada patient dumping last week. That's also why it came as no surprise that we're still seeing growing demands in California and here in Nevada (and perhaps in other states where Rawson-Neal dumped patients) to mend Nevada's tattered social safety net. This case is still far from over.

And it will remain so as long as the political powers that be in Carson City continue their attempts to sweep matters like this under the rug and the corporate powers that be in Las Vegas continue erecting straw men meant to distract us from the real problems that plague our state. Oh, and let's not forget that Las Vegas federal district judges don't have that great of a record when it comes to their rulings surviving appeal. So yes, this case is still far from over.

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