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Judge Reeves Issues Order in Mental Health Lawsuit Overruling State’s Objection

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On Friday, December 3 Judge Carlton Reeves issued his latest order on the matter of the State’s objections to the Monitor’s first-year budget. In its recent filing the State had argued that the Monitor (Dr. Michael Hogan) was planning to use part of his budget on a Clinical Review Process even though that process had been stayed by the court earlier this year.

After conferring with Dr. Hogan and reviewing the United States’ response to the State’s objections, as well as the court record, Judge Reeves overruled the State’s objections. In his order, he said that “the Monitor will not be conducting the stayed Clinical Review Process”, and that Dr. Hogan could proceed with what the court described as “a kind of informal contact tracing designed to identify a discharged individual and ask them if they need re-hospitalization.”

Judge Reeves noted that in his Remedial Order and Order of Appointment he gave Dr. Hogan authority to speak with people receiving services “during the Monitor’s regular assessment”, separate from the annual Clinical Review. Judge Reeves directed the State (as they had asked him to do) to provide their first payment to Dr. Hogan for his services as Monitor.

Judge Reeves also included in his order Dr. Hogan’s proposed budget, parts of which were the cause of the State’s original objection. Dr. Hogan had estimated his total budget for the first year of monitoring to be $317,330, to cover his personnel, travel and consultation costs, and had noted that his proposed budget was higher than he anticipated because he expected that both he and his staff would have more work to do, and that he might need to hire additional outside experts, because the State was not conducting the Clinical Review.

Hogan added in a budget note that he wanted to have these increased funds available as a contingency, but said that if the parties could agree more on compliance criteria and the State continued to improve its data capabilities going forward, it would be less likely that the increased expenditures would be necessary.

For more background on the Partial Stay of the Remedial Order:
Judge Reeves Issues Partial Stay in Mental Health Lawsuit
US Judge Issues Partial Stay For Mississippi in Federal Mental Health Lawsuit
(Steve Wilson, Northside Sun)

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