City answers Justice Department questions about mental health clinic

by Associated Press

Published: February 13,2012

Tags: discrimination, federal government, health, health care, mental health, municipal government, permits

OCEAN SPRINGS — The city of Ocean Springs has answered questions from the Department of Justice on its denial of a permit for a mental health clinic.

The Mississippi Press reports the city claims it did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act when the Board of Aldermen denied permits to allow the Psycamore mental health clinic to open.

The city also said in the documents that 18 similar clinics are in business throughout the city.

In December, aldermen voted 5-1 to deny Psycamore a certificate of occupancy and a use permit. The clinic claimed the area it wanted to locate for zoned to allow medical clinics.

The Justice Department launched an inquiry in January. It will now follow up with interviews of local officials.

The city contends that partial hospitalization facilities — which is how Psycamore is described on its web site — are not medical clinics.

Dr. Sudhakar Madakasira, owner of Psycamore, has maintained that partial hospitalization is just a medical term and his facility is a medical clinic.

Psycamore has challenged the city board’s action in Jackson County Circuit Court. No trial date has been scheduled.

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