AFSCME Public Policy Analysis Department Records

Accession Number: 
LR001994
Extent: 
44.75 linear feet (44 SB, 2 MB)
Date: 
1963-1984, bulk 1973-1981

Part 1 of the AFSCME Public Policy Analysis Department Records focuses on Deinstitutionalization, particularly at Wayne County General Hospital (WCGH). The hospital complex was located in western Wayne County, Michigan, approximately 16 miles west of downtown Detroit. Deinstitutionalization represented a major change in philosophy for mental health treatment delivery and was the term given to the process whereby mentally ill patients were moved out of large public hospitals and into smaller community-based treatment facilities. Typically, large public (state) hospitals were then closed. The process began in 1955 with the introduction of new psychiatric medications by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) into state hospitals. These new medicines offered the possibility of less-restrictive care for the mentally ill outside of the inpatient hospital setting. The deinstitutionalization trend accelerated after the passage of the Community Mental Health Centers Act in 1963 and then continued throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Part 2 of the AFSCME Public Policy Analysis Department Records consists of material related to AFSCME’s national effort to affect public policy in federal, state, and local governments during the 1970s. The department conducted research on issues with the potential to impact AFSCME members, especially matters of Social Security, cost of living, pensions, healthcare, deinstitutionalization, public health care, and unemployment. From this research, the Public Policy Analysis Department created reports and studies meant to influence the policy created by government agencies. The bulk of Part II of this collection represents AFSCME’s work in the debate on deinstitutionalization and health care reform efforts between 1973 and 1978.

Part 3 of the AFSCME Public Policy Analysis Department Records contains correspondence, memos, reports, data, news articles, studies, speeches, and testimonies. Large portions of the records pertain to mental health and deinstitutionalization. Other topics covered include taxes, Reagan-era budget cuts and other economic issues.

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