Federal watchdog investigates state Protection and Advocacy programs for Individuals with Mental Illness

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) serves as Congress' watchdog investigating how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. As part of the 21st Century Cures Act signed into law by President Obama in 2016, the GAO was mandated to review state Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) programs to review their activities and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. PAIMI programs are designed to safeguard rights of individuals with serious mental illness, who are at higher risk of abuse and neglect due to their illness. 

The GAO found that in the eight states they reviewed, 74% of PAIMI cases were resolved in the client's favor. In most states reviewed, the majority of cases filed to PAIMI were for rights complaints, except in Georgia and Texas, in which more than 50% of cases reported by the state PAIMI programs were complaints of neglect.