A few weeks ago the Governor announced a final agreement had been reached in the 32 year old Arnold vs. Sarn case regarding care and services for individuals with serious mental illness. The Settlement is the foundation to end the lawsuit while establishing a blueprint for a successful community-based behavioral health system in Arizona.
This morning we had a fairness hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court on the case. The Governor and I were among the speakers. The hearing went well, and at the end, Judge Bassett entered an Order from the bench that accepts the Settlement Agreement. Under the terms of the stipulation approved by the Court today as fair and reasonable, Arizonans with serious mental illnesses will be assured of enhanced community-based services that allow them to participate in society in a meaningful way, including: crisis services; supported employment and housing services; assertive community treatment; family and peer support; life skills training; and respite care services. Additionally, the stipulation includes metrics, national standards and evidence-based best practices to ensure quality, transparency and accountability in Arizona’s mental health system.
We expect to have a dismissal hearing later this year- which will officially end the Arnold vs. Sarn lawsuit that was filed in 1981. Of course, we’ll still be expected to live up to the terms of the Settlement- which is among our Agency’s top priorities.