ADAPT Secures Community Resolution From Governors
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 2, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC--Disability rights advocates in the nation's capital got part of what they were fighting for this week: a resolution from governors supporting changes in the way the long-term care system favors institutions over community supports.
According to an ADAPT press release, members of the National Governors Association passed a "Community First" resolution at the NGA winter meeting which ended Tuesday. The final draft reportedly includes language supporting changes in Medicaid that would shift priorities from nursing homes and other institutions to community-based supports. The resolution additionally calls for long-term care dollars to follow a person who chooses to leave a facility to purchase in-home or other community services.
The governors also called on Congress to help states switch from institutional treatment to community-based services.
However, the resolution did not commit to establishing community supports to help people who want to move out of institutions as directed by the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead ruling. That decision found that unnecessarily institutionalizing people with disabilities who want to live in the community violates their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Language written by ADAPT had called for the governors to work aggressively to build those supports and track how many have been diverted from institutions.
"We got as much as we could from the NGA as a group," Steve Verriden, ADAPT Organizer from Wisconsin, said in the press statement.
"Now we need to take it back to our individual states, and hold our individual Governors accountable to the principles they approved in this document, AND to the law of the land, as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision. The bottom line is to get and keep people with disabilities of all ages out of nursing homes and other institutions."
The Houston Courier on Tuesday included a brief story about James Van Winkle and Jonny Cox, two Texas ADAPT members who traveled to Washington, DC, to join about 500 other activists during the week-long action.
ADAPT Action Washington DC February 26 - March 2 (ADAPT)
"Conroe men lobby for change in Medicaid for disabled" (The Courier)
National Governors Association