Agreement finally reached in 30-year-old Arnold v. Sarn mental illness lawsuit

January 9, 2014


By Angela Gonzales

It’s a good day for Chick Arnold.

And if that name sounds a little familiar to you, it’s because it has been in and out of the news in Arizona for about three decades.

He’s the Arnold in the 30-year-old Arnold v. Sarn lawsuit that has been fighting on behalf of people with mental illness.

Gov. Jan Brewer announced today that a final agreement has been reached in the case regarding care and services for individuals with serious mental illness. The settlement will provide a variety of community-based services and programs including crisis services, supported employment and housing services, assertive community treatment; family and peer support, life skills training and respite care services.

An independent contractor will conduct annual quality service reviews to make sure the state is delivering proper care to the SMI population.

The governor called it a landmark case, keeping the state accountable.

Arnold, an attorney with Frazer Ryan Goldberg & Arnold LLP law firm in Phoenix, said it’s been a long fight.

“It’s a positive time for folks with mental illness and their families,” he said. “I’m just giggly over it. I’m just really happy.”

By no means is his work done, he said.

Now that Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care is moving forward as the new Regional Behavioral Health Authority for Maricopa County, there will be a lot of bumps in the road, he said.

Last month, the Arizona Department of Administration dismissed Magellan Health Services,Inc’s. bid protest for the $1 billion mental health contract for Maricopa County, giving Mercy Maricopa Integrated a chance to get started on the new contract.

“Every time there’s a transition to the new guy it’s bumpy,” Arnold said. “Families sometimes get lost in that transition process. I’m not worried about finding stuff to do.”

Even though Magellan has lost the bid protest, Dr. Richard Clarke, CEO of Magellan, said he plans to continue to appeal.

Arnold said things are finally starting to look positive for the SMI population, given that Arizona is expanding Medicaid coverage to 300,000 people who are currently uninsured and the state health department has revamped its health facilities rules to allow behavioral and physical care to be provided under one roof.

With the settlement agreement emphasizing housing opportunities for this fragile population, the SMI population will be get the services they need, Arnold said.

“Supported housing is one of the critical components of this agreement,” he said. “Another critical component is supportive employment. You can’t have housing if you don’t have a job and a way to pay for it. The notion of helping people pull themselves up to have a chance at success is really exciting.”

Via Phoenix Business Journal

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

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