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ADAPT Calls On Governors To Remove Institutional Bias
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 14, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC--The national disability rights organization ADAPT is challenging members of the National Governors Association to support a resolution designed to remove the institutional bias currently within the country's long term care system.

In a press statement released Friday, ADAPT leaders called on governors to vote for a resolution that Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell has submitted to the NGA's Health and Human Services Committee. That resolution would ask Congress to pass legislation to eliminate the bias toward nursing homes and other institutional services funded through Medicaid.

About 70 percent of all long-term care dollars are spent on such institutions, in spite of the fact that an overwhelming majority of people have said they prefer to stay in their own homes in their communities.

The measure could be particularly important to states right now as many are declaring crises in their Medicaid systems, and the costs of institutional services continue to climb.

Rendell's resolution would call on the states to be more aggressive in implementing the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision which ruled that keeping people in institutions unnecessarily violates their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act to services in the "most integrated setting".

It would also oppose any block grant or cap on funding of Medicaid.

"The system is broken and needs reform" said Bob Kafka, ADAPT National Organizer in the statement. "The NGA should send a message by passing this resolution that people with disabilities and older Americans should be served with dignity and respect in their own homes and communities and not be forced to live in a nursing home or other institution."

Disability rights activists from across the country plan to be in Washington, D.C. on March 1 when the full NGA meets to vote on the resolution.



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