On August 19, 1991, the United States Department of Justice [DOJ] issued its findings letter to the mayor of Washington, DC providing details of its investigation of the Village Nursing Home (DC Village) conducted pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). DC Village was licensed as a long-term-care nursing home for geriatric patients but overflow from other institutions was causing additional residents to be placed in the facility. These residents included adults with mental retardation and severe physical disabilities along with mentally ill children and adults. The investigation determined that DC Village was not providing proper care to its mentally ill and mentally retarded residents. The conditions that caused constitutional violations included failure to provide adequate training to staff, inadequate psychiatric care, insufficient staff, and inadequate record keeping. The DOJ suggested remedial measures to bring the institution into compliance with constitutional standards.
The DOJ conducted follow-up investigations in 1992 and 1994 and found that the conditions had not improved. Additional problems at the facility included inadequate medical care resulting in the death of many residents. In a letter dated October 11, 1994, the DOJ suggested additional remedial measures to cure the constitutional violations.
On May 19, 1995, the United States filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The complaint alleged violations of the Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Titles XIX and XVIII of the Social Security Act. The District of Columbia Long-Term Care Ombudsman intervened in the action. The United States and the Ombudsman moved for preliminary injunction. On July 5, 1995 a hearing was held regarding the preliminary injunction and the parties entered into a stipulated order. The District of Columbia agreed to implement a number of remedies, including changing specific medical practices related to the treatment of ulcers and incontinence. It agreed to provide adequate nursing staff, remedy shortages in food and other supplies, to place patients with mental retardation into community-based or residential programs, and to pay vendors providing services to the facility. Court monitor Harriet Fields provided reports regarding the District's compliance.
In August of 1995, the District decided to close the facility and failed to provide a plan for the transfer of residents to other facilities. It failed to follow the terms of the previous stipulation and began transferring patients without supervision by the court. On December 20, 1995, the district court (Judge Thomas F. Hogan) granted the United States' motion for contempt due to the District's non-compliance with the stipulated order. On February 23, 1996, Judge Hogan ordered the suspension of the outplacement of DC Village's residents until it complied with previous court orders by creating a transition team to ensure that placement decisions were made on an individualized basis.
The Court Monitor's reports indicated that the District was also not compliant in paying its vendors and Judge Hogan entered several orders regarding this issue.
A letter from the Court Monitor on June 28, 1996 noted that all patients at DC Village had been outplaced but that the District was refusing to provide payment to the Georgetown University Child Development Center (GUCDC) for the services it provided in the outplacement process. On July 15, 1996, Judge Hogan ordered the District to pay GUCDC. Judge Hogan denied a motion to dismiss the monitor in order to evaluate the former resident's placements and determine whether they were appropriate.
The Court Monitor provided a final report on January 21, 1997, which included testimonials of former residents and indicated that they were in appropriate placements. Judge Hogan entered an Order on May 12, 1997, closing the case and ordering the District to pay $100 to each former resident and $50,000 to the Ombudsman. Angela Heverling - 05/21/2007