On January 4, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") sent its "findings letter" to California's governor, advising him of the results of the October 2004, DOJ investigation of conditions and practices at the Lanterman Developmental Center ("LDC"), a facility housing ...
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On January 4, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") sent its "findings letter" to California's governor, advising him of the results of the October 2004, DOJ investigation of conditions and practices at the Lanterman Developmental Center ("LDC"), a facility housing developmentally disabled persons, including those with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and/or autism. The investigation occurred under the authority of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act ("CRIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997. DOJ and expert consultants visited the facility, reviewed a wide array of documents there, and conducted interviews with personnel and residents. The letter commended LDC staff for providing a high level of cooperation during the investigation.
The DOJ advised that its' investigation found deficiencies in resident care at LDC, in that conditions and services at LDC substantially departed from generally accepted standards of care. Constitutional and federal statutory rights of residents at LDC were violated in several respects, according to the DOJ.
DOJ concluded that deficiencies in conditions of resident care and treatment at LDC existed as to multiple topic areas, including LDC's causing residents significant harm or risk of harm through failure to: (1) keep them safe (e.g., residents subjected to neglect and physical abuse; disproportionate number of injuries; inadequate incident reporting and investigation system); (2) provide them with adequate training and associated behavioral and mental health services (e.g., inadequate behavior programs and functional analyses of problem behaviors; poor program implementation, monitoring, and follow-up; unjustified and undue use of restraints; inadequate habilitation, vocational, and day programming; insufficient psychiatric care); and (3) provide them with adequate health care, as required by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1396; 42 C.F.R. Part 483, Subpart I (Medicaid Program Provisions), due to substandard medical and nursing assessment, treatment, education, and direction, as well as slipshod medical documentation and poor nutritional and physical management. Additionally, the DOJ found that (4) the state failed to provide services to certain LDC residents in the most integrated setting, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq; 28 C.F.R § 35.130(d). The letter provided details of deficiencies for all four of these categories.
Minimally-acceptable remedial measures for each of the four categories were outlined in the letter, which concluded by inviting continued further collaboration in implementing the remediation. The letter also provided notice that, absent a resolution of federal concerns, the DOJ would file a CRIPA lawsuit to compel correction of the identified deficiencies at LDC.
We have no information indicating post-"findings letter" activity in this case. The letter does reference other of the DOJ's findings letters issued in then-recent years to California regarding other state-owned and -operated facilities, such as the Agnews and Sonoma Developmental Centers, the Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, and the Metropolitan and Napa State Hospitals (as to the latter two facilities, see case MH-CA-0004, in this database). The letter also mentions then-ongoing investigations at the Patton and Atascadero State Hospitals, which (later) resulted in findings letters and court supervision (see cases MH-CA-0002 and -0005, in this database).Mike Fagan - 05/27/2008