CPR Oversees the Successful Implementation of Nursing Facility Settlement Agreement

March 28, 2024

CPR, Disability Rights Center of Kansas (DRCK), and the AARP Legal Foundation developed an Olmstead/PASRR lawsuit to challenge the unnecessary segregation of persons with psychiatric disabilities in specialized mental health nursing facilities.  Kansas is the only state in country to have an entire network of nursing facilities solely for individuals with mental illness, all of which are considered by the federal government to be Institutions for Mental Disease (IMDs) and thus ineligible for Medicaid funds.

In July 2021, after several months of negotiations, CPR, DRCK, AARP and the Secretary of Kansas’ Health and Human Services agency signed a Settlement Agreement that will allow people with mental health disabilities to avoid institutionalization and live in integrated settings in the community.  Under the Agreement, over eight years, the State will develop and expand a wide range of mental health services for nursing facility residents with mental illness and increase integrated community services throughout Kansas. The reforms will include: (1) a redesigned PASRR screening and evaluation process; (2) an informed choice program; (3) case management and specialized services for people in nursing facilities and after they leave these facilities; (4) several hundred supported housing units; (5) mobile crisis services; (6) new Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams in each region; (7) expanded supported employment programs that meet national fidelity standards; and (8) peer support services that will allow hundreds of people to transition from segregated nursing facilities to integrated settings in the community. 

CPR, DRCK, and AARP are actively monitoring the implementation of the Agreement, including receiving written progress reports and participating in quarterly meetings, the most recent of which occurred in March 2024.  After some initial delays due to funding and the impact of pandemic on nursing facilities, many of the important benchmarks for Years 1 and 2 concerning specialized services, informed choice, discharge planning, case management, and nursing facility transformation have been met.  The expansion of community services has moved slower, but is gradually allowing more people to avoid unnecessary institutionalization.  Significantly, the State is now reconceptualizing the role of these segregated facilities and implementing policies and oversight to prevent prolonged institutionalization.  CPR, DRCK, and AARP continue to discuss with state officials how to ensure compliance with all Year 3 and Year 4 requirements of the Agreement.