Health Dept. Seeking Members of Class Action Lawsuit
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by Denise Laitinen
The Hawaii State Department of Health is actively seeking individuals who were denied eligibility for state mental health services between July 1, 2009, and December 16, 2010, because of state policy and procedural changes that became effective on July 1, 2009.
These individuals are now eligible for a reassessment of eligibility for services as part of the recently approved settlement.
Members of the plaintiff class are urged to contact the DOH Adult Mental Health Division (AMHD) from the neighbor islands toll-free at 1-800-753-6879.
The AMHD is mailing approximately 280 notification letters statewide this week to identified members of the plaintiff class in an effort to reach individuals who are eligible to receive a reassessment for state mental health services based on the 2004 AMHD eligibility criteria.
These individuals may now qualify for mental health services that were denied earlier. Individuals currently receiving psychiatric care or other services from another source may still qualify to receive mental health services the AMHD can offer.
The agreement settles all claims for a class action lawsuit filed June 22, 2010, against the AMHD by the Hawaii Disability Rights Center and Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing.
The recently approved settlement requires AMHD to allow all members of the plaintiff class to be reassessed under the eligibility criteria that were in effect on June 30, 2009.
The complaint, settlement and release agreement, motion for preliminary approval of settlement, and other relevant documents are available at http://www.hawaiidisabilityrights.org/.
Members of the class action suite may contact class counsel Louis Erteschik, Esq., Hawaii Disability Rights Center, (808) 949-2922 or contact Paul Alston or J. Blaine Rodgers, at the law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, (808) 524-1800.