On October 19, 2019 the District Court entered an Order for Preliminary Approval of a Settlement Agreement reached in this ADA case filed in 2016 on behalf of thousands of people in Ohio who were unnecessarily segregated in ICFs. The Complaint alleged that people across Ohio who are in ICFs but want to live in the community cannot due to limited community-based services and that this violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws. The plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Ohio, the Center for Public Representation, Sidley Austin LLP, and Sam Bagenstos.
Since the case was filed in 2016, but prior to the Settlement, the State has significantly expanded funding for the Home and Community Based Waiver and has amended its waiver to ensure that it can provide adequate nursing services in the community. Through an infusion of $286 million into the developmental disabilities system, the State created 2,000 new IO waiver state-funded waiver slots (for people currently in ICFs and people on waiting lists) and 1,000 new SELF waiver slots. Additionally, the State estimates that it spent $3 million to create new service models for integrated day services. The State also entered into a contract with a provider to provide information to people in ICFs about community alternatives.
The Proposed Settlement Agreement requires the State to:
1. Maintain peer-to-peer and family-to-family programs and exploratory community visits for people who have not yet made a decision;
2. Expand access to state-funded Individual Options waivers for people who choose a waiver by providing a total of 700 waiver slots over the first two years of the agreement, with first priority for people in ICFs who want waivers to live in the community and for people who have applied for admission to an ICF with eight or more beds but want a waiver to remain in the community. For the next two years, the Department will request additional funds based on an assessment of the future needs of people across Ohio;
3. Support and expand programs for integrated, affordable housing, and integrated employment and day services. Under the Settlement Agreement, the Department will provide $24 million in capital housing assistance for State Fiscal Years (SFY) 2019 and 2020, to be primarily available for people receiving exit, diversion or conversion waivers. In SFY 2021 and 2022, the Department will project the continuing need for capital assistance and request budgetary approval, for not less than $12 million dollars. In addition, the Department will request $250,000 to fund new transformation grants for providers delivering integrated day and employment services.
The Court has scheduled a Fairness Hearing for December 17, 2019 to consider approving the settlement. For more information on the proposed settlement visit https://www.disabilityrightsohio.org/dd-class-action-lawsuit.
You can read more about the history of the case here.