The state violated Central Virginia Training Center residents' civil rights by failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Department of Justice has concluded.
Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday released findings from the department's two-year investigation.
The report said the state failed to provide services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, a violation of the ADA. That led to "needless and prolonged institutionalization" of patients at the Madison Heights training center and other training centers across the state. That's because the state failed to develop enough community-based alternatives and used resources already available to invest in institutions rather than expand community-based services. The report also identified a flawed discharge process at the state's training centers.
The lack of community services puts individuals in the community at risk of unnecessary institutionalizations, the report said.
"Reliance of unnecessary and expensive institutional care both violates the civil rights of people with disabilities and incurs unnecessary expense," the report said.
It costs about $194,000 to institutionalize a person for a year, compared to $76,400 to provide services in the community, according to the report.
If the state fails to address these concerns, the attorney general may initiate a lawsuit, the report said.
A report on Eastern State Hospital in James City County by the Inspector General for Behavioral Health and Development Services pointed out that a similar lack of community-based services clogged the pipeline of patients who could be discharged from the inpatient behavioral health facility.
Last year, after an inspector general report pointed out problems with the state's system, McDonnell proposed adding $30 million to address concerns.
"Virginia must move from serving so many persons in institutions, to one that is at the forefront of providing needed services in less restrictive and less expensive community based settings," McDonnell said.