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Press Release

For Immediate Release
December 19, 2013

Communications Office

Governor Hassan’s Statement on Settlement Agreement in Mental Health Services Lawsuit

CONCORD - Following the announcement that the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has entered into a comprehensive settlement agreement of the filed class action mental health services lawsuit brought by the Disabilities Rights Center (DRC) and the U.S. Attorney on behalf of New Hampshire residents with psychiatric disabilities, Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement:

"Addressing our deeply strained mental health system is one of the most pressing challenges facing our state. Recognizing that the safety of our communities and the health and well-being of individual citizens depend upon our efforts to strengthen mental health care services, we came together this year to significantly increase funding for community-based mental health care in our bipartisan budget.

"Our budget expands access to acute care beds, adds a new designated receiving facility, adds community residence beds, provides subsidies for housing and support services, adds 10 Assertive Community Treatment Teams to assist people in crisis, and increases other community support services.

"The settlement agreement reached today builds on the progress made in our bipartisan budget by further enhancing community-based mental health services and increasing crisis-support services, helping to address the continued trend of acute mental health cases at our hospitals’ emergency rooms.

"Reaching this settlement also ensures that we can continue addressing our mental health challenges in a fiscally responsible way that protects the state’s budget and that ensures that New Hampshire citizens are driving improvements in our mental health system – not federal judges. Continuing the lawsuit would undoubtedly have cost the state millions of dollars in legal fees and untold millions more per year if the state had not prevailed in its case.

"Moving forward, I will work with Senate President Morse, Speaker Norelli and all legislators to identify the resources needed to meet the terms of this agreement in order to continue strengthening mental health care for all Granite Staters. I thank Attorney General Foster and his office, U.S. Attorney Kacavas, and representatives of the DRC for working constructively to reach a settlement agreement."

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