gavel-214x300After more than 30 years of litigation, the Maricopa County Superior Court last week dismissed the Arnold v. Sarn lawsuit, retaining jurisdiction to enforce the on-going agreement that lead to this historic resolution. The dismissal is the result of a comprehensive joint stipulation – filed by the parties and approved by the court earlier this year – that ensures a successful and quality community-based behavioral health system.

The final agreement approved by the court specifically concerns care and services for people with a serious mental illness. That Settlement became the foundation to end the lawsuit and established a blueprint for a successful community-based behavioral health system in Arizona.

Last week the Judge accepted the terms agreed to by all the parties and dismissed the case- officially ending the 1981 Arnold v. Sarn lawsuit.  We’re still required to live up to the terms of the Settlement including increasing Assertive Community Treatment, Supported Employment, Supportive Housing and Peer and Family Services.  We’ll be using evidence-based tools to  evaluate the system’s performance, including ongoing Quality Service Reviews, Network Capacity Analyses and adherence with SAMHSA Fidelity Tools. Our Arnold v. Sarn website will continue to provide transparency on our performance under the Settlement Agreement.

This is an historic achievement, not because the case has been dismissed, but because we’ve been able to build a successful community-based behavioral health system that’s held accountable using evidence-based criteria, providing people living with a serious mental illness with the resources and help on their path to Recovery.