MISSOURI – The state of Missouri unnecessarily puts adults with mental health disabilities in nursing facilities, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ released its findings on Tuesday, saying Missouri repeatedly “fails to provide community-based mental health services,” such as:

assertive community treatment

case management

supported employment

mobile crisis response

crisis stabilization services

permanent supportive housing

peer support

supported decision-making

Around half of the adults with mental health disabilities living in skilled nursing facilities are under the age of 65, most of whom require little or no help with basic physical activities.

The DOJ opened its investigation in November 2022, reviewing thousands of pages worth of policies, reports, Medicaid billing information, and treatment records. DOJ attorneys and others interviewed more than 30 state officials and dozens of local administrators. More than 130 directly affected people were also interviewed. Investigators also visited various providers and nursing facilities across Missouri.

The report concludes that Missouri promotes the use of guardianships and diverts them to nursing facilities to serve those with mental health disabilities who need a different kind of help instead of being shunted off somewhere else, “sent out of sight and out of mind.”

Individuals who have experienced or know someone who is experiencing this or have other information relevant to this matter can contact the DOJ by calling 833-610-1242 to leave a voicemail or emailing Community.Missouri@usdoj.gov. The Justice Department will hold two virtual community meetings on Tuesday, June 25, at 6 p.m. and Wednesday, June 26, at 12 p.m. Members of the public are encouraged to attend.