The US Department of Justice has teamed up with several state agencies to help ensure people with serious mental illnesses have the opportunity to live in a community setting.

The agreement follows a review by the DOJ in December 2016 that claimed the state was unnecessarily relying on nursing homes to serve people with serious mental illnesses. So what does the timeline for the transition look like?

Executive Counsel for the Department of Health, Stephen Russo explains, "In the first eighteen months, we'll be going out and assessing members of the target group and seeing what their needs are."

With the current situation with the state’s budget, Russo does see a potential benefit in the transition saying "There should be a cost savings, sending them into (another) setting rather than a nursing home setting."

The Department of Health has begun it’s assessments of the more than 2,500 mentally ill people currently residing in nursing homes. Russo says that the skilled professionals are working on the case.

Russo says that the option to stay in a nursing home setting will be available.

More From News Talk 96.5 KPEL