Fairness Hearing Scheduled for Dec. 19th
In August, the Editors of Hear Me Out posted a three-part series entitled The Road to Reform in Washington, describing the T.R. v. Dreyfus lawsuit and Young Minds’ efforts to help reform the children’s mental health system in Washington State. As previously reported, the parties to the lawsuit reached a final settlement to increase access to intensive care coordination, home and community-based mental health services, and mobile crisis and stabilization services for Medicaid-eligible youth statewide.
Because T.R. v. Dreyfus is a class action suit, the Federal District Court must review and approve the Settlement Agreement. The first step in this process is to secure the Court’s preliminary approval of the Agreement and schedule a final “fairness hearing.” Accordingly, the parties filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of the Settlement Agreement, and on September 27th, Federal District Court Judge Thomas Zilly approved the motion, and scheduled a fairness hearing for December 19, 2013.
Filed in 2009, T.R. v. Dreyfus is a federal class action lawsuit brought on behalf of Medicaid-eligible youth in Washington. The lawsuit seeks to improve children’s access to intensive home and community-based mental health services and supports. Young Minds represented the plaintiff class along with Disability Rights Washington, the National Center for Youth Law, the National Health Law Program, and Perkins Coie, LLP.
On August 30, we announced that the parties in T.R. v. Dreyfus reached a final settlement agreement. As part of the agreement, state defendants committed to provide the following mental health services as part of Washington’s Medicaid plan: 1) Intensive Care Coordination, (2) Intensive Home and Community Based Services, and (3) Mobile Crisis Intervention and Stabilization Services. These three services are collectively referred to as “Wraparound with Intensive Services” (WISe). A more detailed description of these services can be found here. All services will be individualized to meet each class member’s unique needs, and provided in conjunction with a team-based treatment planning process, known as a Child and Family Team.
Want to know more about the settlement agreement?
Check out this video entitled A Strategy for Success produced by our co-counsel, Disability Rights Washington.
Young people, family members, and others interested in learning more about the Settlement Agreement and the plan to implement it are invited to participate in live trainings on Thursday, October 31st or Friday, November 1st hosted by Disability Rights Washington. People may also attend in-person or by videoconferences that will be hosted in state agency offices throughout the state.
Next Step – Fairness Hearing
Providing for Public Comment
Federal law requires court approval of a class action settlement. In making its final decision about a settlement, the Court will consider evidence regarding whether the parties’ proposed agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. This evidence includes testimony and written comments received by people who are interested in or may be affected by the agreement. At the fairness hearing, the Court may hear oral comments and also review written statements regarding the proposed agreement.
Those who may be affected by this class action lawsuit are invited to provide input to the Court by submitting written comments in advance of, or testifying during, the fairness hearing. The hearing is scheduled to take place December 19, at 10am in the U.S. District Courthouse in Seattle. Written comments must be submitted by email or mail no later than December 5, 2013.
For more information about how to provide input to the Court, contact Disability Rights Washington.