Special Master Reports U.S. District Court Should Dismiss Case Against Hawaii State Hospital

November 15, 2004

Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett announced recently that Special Master, Magistrate Judge Kevin S. C. Chang released his report recommending that the United States District Court dismiss 13-year-old claims against Hawaii State Hospital, retain jurisdiction over the development of Hawaii’s public community mental health system, and extend the date for completion of the Plan for Community Mental Health Services to June 30, 2006.

Judge Chang’s report cites the most recent findings of his Evaluation Team, to the effect that Hawaii State Hospital is now in substantial compliance with the requirements of the HSH Remedial Plan for Compliance that was ordered by the court Feb. 21, 2002. The HSH Remedial Plan was the last in a series of federal court orders requiring improvement of the living conditions and treatment offered at Hawaii State Hospital that began with a Settlement Agreement signed by the State and the United States Department of Justice in September 1991.

Bennett stated, “This report brings truly welcome news to the patients, staff, and administration of Hawaii State Hospital, the Adult Mental Health Division of the Department of Health, and to all citizens of our State whose lives are affected by serious mental illness. All of the hard work that has brought Hawaii State Hospital to this point is truly appreciated, and has set the stage for continuous improvement of the services offered at the State Hospital. The completion of the developments called for by the Community Plan will complement the mission of Hawaii State Hospital to help its patients who are able to return to community based living maintain their recovery after completion of their inpatient care. We appreciate the agreement by the United States Department of Justice and the recommendation of the Special Master to dismiss the HSH portion of this case, and to extend the time for completion of the Community Plan.”

A hearing is set for Dec. 10, 2004 before the Honorable David Ezra, at which time the court will consider and rule on the Special Master’s recommendations.

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