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DRAZ Settles Lawsuit against Arizona State Hospital for Facility and Patient Access

Abuse & Neglect, Mental Health
for Immediate Release

On November 12, 2019, the Disability Rights Arizona settled a lawsuit against the Arizona State Hospital (ASH) and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). DRAZ filed this lawsuit in 2018 to ensure it had the access necessary to monitor ASH facilities and ensure patients are not subject to abuse and neglect, as required by law.

Under the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act, DRAZ is required to monitor the conditions of facilities housing individuals with mental illness, educate facility residents about their rights, and investigate incidents of abuse and neglect at those facilities. In the lawsuit, DRAZ alleged that ASH impeded their ability to accomplish this mandate by denying DRAZ unaccompanied access to the facility and its residents.

Under the terms of the settlement, ASH agreed to provide DRAZ reasonable unaccompanied access to the ASH facilities and residents in compliance with the requirements of the PAIMI Act. ASH also agreed to DRAZ conducting up to three-hour visits twice per week for the purpose of educating ASH residents about their rights and the services that DRAZ provides. The agreement also sets forth a dispute resolution process if ASH denies or delays DRAZ’s access in the future.

“This agreement enables DRAZ to accomplish its mandates to monitor the conditions at ASH, educate ASH residents about their rights, and investigate alleged incidents of abuse and neglect at ASH,” said Asim Dietrich, Staff Attorney.

“We believe this settlement creates a framework for DRAZ and ASH to work together to increase transparency. Through that collaboration, we hope to further our mutual goals: to promote residents’ rights and improve their quality of life,”  said Chris Carlsen, Staff Attorney.

Established in 1995, the Disability Rights Arizona is a federally designated Protection and Advocacy System (P&A) for the State of Arizona. P&As throughout the United States ensure that the human and civil rights of persons with disabilities are protected. DRAZ employs over 25 professionals at its Tucson and Phoenix offices.


Over 30 years, DRAZ has worked to advance the rights of Arizonans with disabilities to promote and protect their legal rights to independence, justice, and equality.

At DRAZ, our vision is clear: to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensure their full and equal rights, and to also be the place where a diverse mix of talented people want to come, to stay and do their best work serving our clients. We envision a society where all people with disabilities enjoy full acceptance without barriers.