With reasonable accommodations, and access to necessary services and supports, all people with disabilities can live and thrive in integrated community settings.
But despite the gradual expansion of Medicaid-funded home and community-based services, thousands of people with disabilities still languish in segregated settings, including nursing facilities, state hospitals, developmental disability centers, jails and prisons, and private psychiatric hospitals.
When state long-term care systems failure to provide adequate community supports like care coordination, supported employment, home modification, individual therapies, personal care, and home-health services, people with disabilities are forced to remain in, or are placed in, institutional care. Once in those settings, their conditions regress, and they lose the independence, choice, and life skills that once gave them the possibility of a more vibrant life in the community.
CPR, through its litigation and policy work, has advocated for decades to ensure that adults and children with disabilities can obtain needed services and supports in the community, and that those in facilities receive the specialized disability services mandated under the federal Medicaid Act.
People with disabilities, including those with other marginalized identities, have experienced long-standing discrimination in access to health care, resulting in life-altering health disparities. The continued prevalence of this discrimination was laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the withholding of medical care based on generalized assumptions, stereotypes, and misjudgments regarding the value and quality of life experienced by people with disabilities.
CPR joined with national coalition partners to assist local disability organizations in more than 20 states to revise Crisis Standards of Care that determine priority for emergency treatment. Locally, it organized a diverse coalition of disability, civil rights, and racial justice organizations to press for reforms to Massachusetts’ Crisis Standards, vaccination protocols, COVID precaution protocols, and hospital accommodation policies. It joined, and provided legal support to, a local health equity coalition of medical professionals from communities of color in Massachusetts.