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Interview with Ruby Moore, April 12, 2017

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:27 - Investigating deaths in Georgia Mental Hospitals / Formation of the Settlement Agreement

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Partial Transcript: Ruby, do you want to tell us how this law suit started?

Segment Synopsis: Moore explains about how she came to investigate the death of 14-year old Sarah Crider at Georgia Regional Hospital in Atlanta. Moore talks about additional investigations conducted by Allen Judd and Andy Miller covering the deaths of people with disabilities in Georgia. Moore describes how such findings called for further investigations by the Department of Justice. Moore explains how the State of Georgia and the Department of Justice reached a settlement with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities against the wishes of stakeholders and advocates. Moore recalls how she reached out to Samuel Bagenstos, an official in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, in order to arrange a meeting to discuss the ethics of the Department of Justice and Georgia Department of Behavioral Health settlement.

Keywords: Allen Judd; Andy Miller; Cynthia Wainscott; Georgia Advocacy Office; Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities; Georgia Regional Hospital; Samuel Bagenstos; Sarah Crider

00:07:05 - Opposing the United States v. Georgia settlement

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Partial Transcript: How do we take advantage of this changing political environment?

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer, Allison Barkoff, discusses the negative reaction of stakeholders and advocates to the ADA Settlement Agreement between the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (BHDD). The interviewer recalls the claims made by the Department of Justice supporting the ADA Settlement Agreement. Moore responds by recalling how the stakeholders in opposition to the agreement reacted. Moore relates how Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter's call for a community mental health system during the hearing helped push stakeholders to demand requirements for Georgia's mental health care system.

Keywords: Americans with Disabilities Act; Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law; Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (BHDD); Carter Center; Department of Justice; Rosalynn Carter; United States v. State of Georgia; political climate

00:14:01 - Settlement hearing / Upholding Olmstead v. L.C. decision

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Partial Transcript: For us to not go into court and affirmatively oppose this...

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer, Allison Barkoff, recalls her experience as a lawyer during the settlement hearing and lists her demands for the creation of a new settlement between the United States and Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). Moore describes how former commissioners from other states supported the negotiations and catalyzed the re-innovation of the Georgia mental health community. Barkoff talks about her personal investment in the re-creation of the Georgia mental healthcare community. The interviewer recalls that Department of Justice leaders such as Thomas Perez and Samuel Bagenstos eventually came to support stakeholders and advocacy groups in the creation of a new Georgia mental health care system based on the community integration principles of Olmstead v. L.C.

Keywords: Department of Justice; Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (BHDD); Judge Charles Pannell; Olmstead v. L.C.; Thomas Perez

00:20:33 - Setting precedent through Georgia-DOJ settlement agreement

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Partial Transcript: And ironically, one of the most powerful safe guards...

Segment Synopsis: Moore talks about the importance of building relationships with people who suffer from mental health conditions. She emphasizes the fact that the Georgia settlement agreement would set a precedent for other states. Barkoff and Moore discuss Georgia's presence in the nation-wide discussion over improving conditions for those in the mental healthcare system. Barkoff describes how the Georgia settlement with the Department of Justice led to further efforts by civil rights groups to ensure the endorsement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Keywords: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); Department of Justice (DOJ)

00:28:26 - Future of Georgia mental healthcare system / Concluding thoughts

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Partial Transcript: And we really miscalculated how difficult it would be for the state to build a developmental disability system.

Segment Synopsis: Moore describes how collaboration between advocacy and medical groups assisted in reforming the mental health community, but did not achieve such improvement in the reforming the developmental disability community. Moore states that such shortcomings were caused by lower engagement by stakeholders and advocacy groups, who served as the catalyst for change in healthcare systems. Moore shares her apprehension over the future of the Georgia settlement agreement and the future of developmental disability care in Georgia. The interviewer discusses the lack of care for people suffering from complex disabilities in their transition from state hospitals to the community living. Barkoff describes the need for the creation of a developmental disability system that supports community building and ex-hospital care for patients. Moore adds that assistance in the integration of people with developmental disabilities into the workplace requires thorough understanding of practices that benefit those in the transition period. Barkoff concludes the interview by stressing the importance of grassroots advocacy and campaigning in creating national change.

Keywords: Developmental Disability; Grassroots advocacy campaigning; Independent reviewer