Start treating California's disabled citizens' mental health needs

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A beloved family member who has ALS, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, had a psychotic break recently and was suicidal. He desperately needed an inpatient mental health program to stabilize his condition. The hospital administration applied to programs throughout the entire State of California. He was rejected at every program, because they claim that, while they can treat the mental health aspect, they cannot treat the physical needs of ALS. He was finally admitted into the only program in the entire State of California who would accept him that we could find. Without inpatient mental health care, I feared for his life.

I have since learned that this is a widespread, prevalent issue across all disabilities, and people with disabilities are being rejected repeatedly and, sadly, predictably. This is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires medical facilities to make the appropriate accommodations for people who are living with disabilities. More importantly, it is an intolerable violation of human decency to allow the neglect of the most vulnerable of our citizens' needs. How many have committed suicide on your watch?

I am asking you to do the following immediately:

1. Audit all mental health programs within the State of California for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), indicating the number of people with disabilities accepted into their programs, the number of people with disabilities rejected access to their programs, and, lastly, accommodations they make to treat people with disabilities.

2. Determine and execute mandatory methods of accommodating people with disabilities, including funding for atypical accommodations.

3. Enforce strict adherence to providing access for people with disabilities to mental health programs.

4. Publish an annual public report with specific details of compliance or noncompliance.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this life-and-death matter.



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