The federal district court in Ball v. DeWine has approved a comprehensive Settlement Agreement designed to increase access to home and community-based services and provide individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a meaningful, informed choice between integrated services and Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs).
In its April 24, 2020 opinion, the Court concluded that the final Modified Settlement Agreement “is a fair, reasonable, and adequate resolution of the class members’ claims, is in the public interest, and does not harm the rights of any non-class members.”
The Center for Public Representation (CPR), Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, and attorney Sam Bagenstos filed the class action lawsuit in March of 2016 along with six named plaintiffs and The Ability Center of Greater Toledo. The Complaint alleged that Ohio’s provision of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Social Security Act. Subsequently, a group of ICF guardians and the Ohio Association of County Boards for Developmental Disabilities were allowed to intervene as parties to the litigation.
The Court ultimately certified a class consisting of “All Medicaid-eligible adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities residing in the state of Ohio who, on or after March 31, 2016, are qualified for home and community-based services, and, after receiving options counseling, express that they are interested in community-based services.”
In response to the litigation, the Defendants, including the state of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) made a number of improvements to the Developmental Disability service system. These changes included the addition of new home and community-based waiver slots allowing for the transition of over 800 individuals from ICFs, and the development of a targeted options counseling program to inform ICF residents and their families about community-based alternatives.
Under the final modified Settlement Agreement, the State commits to continue and expand these program improvements, allowing more people with developmental disabilities to choose to live and work in their communities with the supports.
Specifically, the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) will revise outreach materials and increase access to options counseling and pre-admission counseling programs. They will maintain newly developed peer-to-peer and family-to-family programs, and offer exploratory community visits so individuals can see what types of service options exist in their preferred geographic area. The State will also increase its home and community-based services waiver capacity, providing a total of 700 waiver slots over the first two years of the Agreement, and requesting additional waiver funds in years three and four based on an assessment of unmet demand and anticipated future need.
In addition, the State will expand programs for integrated, affordable housing, and integrated employment and day services, providing no less than 36 million in capital housing assistance and funding transformation grants for providers delivering integrated day and employment services. Finally, the Agreement contains terms related to information exchange, monitoring, continuing jurisdiction, and resolution of any compliance dispute.
Case Summary Upon Filing of the Complaint
ADA community integration class action challenging the unnecessary segregation of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in private Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs). The class includes 27,800 adults who are institutionalized in, or are at serious risk of institutionalization in these ICFs and sheltered workshops because of systemic limitations on access to integrated, home and community-based services. The Complaint charges that the defendants’ administration, management, and funding of Ohio’s service system for people with I/DD perpetuates segregation in violation of the ADA, Section 504, and the Medicaid Act. Co-counseling the case with CPR are Disability Rights Ohio, Sam Bagenstos of the University of Michigan Law School, and Sidley Austin, LLP.