Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Idaho takes a swing at the Olmstead Act

The big thing in state cuts seems to be aimed at reducing the services that allow kids as well as adults with disabilities on Medicaid to stay in their family homes. Back in 1999, the Supreme Court stated people with disabilities could not be segregated in institutions, and the states must fund supports and services that allow these individuals to be cared for at home, in their own communities. It's referred to as the Olmstead Decision, and Idaho appears to be trying to violate it. According to this article, there's a court case in Idaho in response to the state's attempt to cut home services to individuals with disabilities. The article says that approximately 900 individuals with disabilities will be at risk of institutionalization if the state does not reverse its position. It also mentions, and this is the really important figure, that It makes absolutely no financial sense to reduce these services. The state (Idaho presumably) spends $200,000 per year per person in an institution, versus a cost of $20,000 to $50,000 per person per year to provide home based services. If you know anyone in Idaho who could be affected by this court case, please pass this information along to them.

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About Me

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.