Statement on Department of Justice court motion

January 29, 2010

ATLANTA - Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Frank Shelp released the following statement today regarding a motion filed by the Department of Justice on Thursday, January 28, 2010, concerning the state’s psychiatric hospitals:

“We have always preferred that people be served in communities where possible and that they should receive safe and effective care while in hospitals. What we disagree with is the notion that change can happen overnight or that there’s no role for hospital care for those who need it and want it. We’re busy building a continuum of care to best serve the people of Georgia in the appropriate places. The DOJ’s motion, if adopted, would divert resources and endanger that progress.

We began this new agency seven months ago with a clear understanding of the challenges we face. We know we can continue to improve and we’re in the middle of major changes. Already the people we serve are safer are getting better care. What we need now is the resources and time to continue. Governor Perdue has provided us the resources. But this lawsuit by the Department of Justice would deny us the critical time we need.

We’ve cooperated with the Department of Justice, we’ve invited them into our hospitals to make recommendations, and we’ve worked diligently to fulfill our settlement agreement. We will continue improving our hospitals because it’s the right thing to do. But we will dispute every allegation in this motion with facts and law.”

Contact Information: 
Tom Wilson (