There is an article about The Justice Department’s settlement with the state of Tennessee regarding civil rights violations at the Tennessee State Veterans Homes (TSVHs) in Humboldt and Murfreesboro. The TSVHs are state-owned nursing homes, each serving approximately 140 residents, most of whom are veterans. It sounds eerily similar to the Bush Administration’s last minute settlement with South Carolina recently.
The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court, is designed to (hopefully) ensure that the nursing home residents will (finally) be provided adequate medical and nursing care and protected from harm. During its investigation of the TSVHs, the Justice Department discovered numerous violations, including medical and nursing care that violated generally accepted professional standards, and psychiatric medication practices so deficient that they contributed to the deaths of some residents. Further, staff at the veterans homes did not adequately protect residents from injuries associated with falling.
The Justice Department conducted its investigation pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), which authorizes the Attorney General to investigate and root out systemic deficiencies in care such as those found at the TSVHs, rather than focus on individual civil rights violations. The Department of Justice’s CRIPA enforcement effort reaches beyond nursing homes, and includes psychiatric hospitals, facilities for persons with developmental disabilities, juvenile justice facilities, prisons and jails.