Assuring Access to Community Living for the Disabled
Overview: On June 22, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the policy by ruling in Olmstead v. L.C. that under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) unjustifiable institutionalization of a person with a disability who, with proper support, can live in the community is discrimination. In its ruling, the Court said that institutionalization severely limits the person's ability to interact with family and friends, to work and to make a life for him or herself.
The Olmstead case was brought by two Georgia women whose disabilities include mental retardation and mental illness. At the time the suit was filed, both plaintiffs were receiving mental health services in state-run institutions, despite the fact that their treatment professionals believed they could be appropriately served in a community-based setting.
In accordance with that Court ruling, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance to state Medicaid directors on how to make state programs responsive to the desires of disabled persons to live in appropriate community-based settings. The Administration's goal is to integrate people with disabilities into the social mainstream with equal opportunities and the chance to make choices. (ADD)
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