New York's top court is refusing to order nursing homes to give state lawyers access to hundreds of psychiatric patients so they can advocate for alternative treatments, living conditions or even release.
The Court of Appeals, divided 4-3, says the New York's Office of Mental Health decided not to license the nursing homes. Therefore lawyers for the Mental Hygiene Legal Service lack jurisdiction.
State mental institutions began discharging patients in 1996 to nursing homes for continued but lower-level care.
The MHLS was established to guard the rights of the mentally disabled in institutions. It sought access to all those patients. The nursing homes said no, citing privacy rights.