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House Committee Reviews Conditions For Mentally, Physically Ill In Va.

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In February the Justice Department threatened to sue Virginia because it said the Commonwealth violates federal law by needlessly warehousing the intellectually and severely disabled. The Justice Department also says the state fails to provide adequate treatment in the community.

Health officials in Virginia say they're hoping to reach an agreement with the Justice Department over civil rights violation at the facilities by the summer and begin making changes by the fall.

Virginia's Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Hazel told the House Appropriations Committee Monday that negotiations are continuing. The talks are confidential, so Hazel couldn't provide details. But he says the agency was pleased with steps Virginia has taken, such as setting up a $30 million trust to address the problems.

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