New Hampshire's Commitment To Community Warrants Tossing Lawsuit,
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 29, 2006
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE--Saying that New Hampshire's commitment to moving people from institutions and into the community is "genuine, comprehensive and reasonable, although obviously not complete", a judge on Friday ruled against two women who had claimed the state violated their federal rights to live in the "most integrated settings" possible.
According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe found in favor of the state and closed the class action suit.
Bonnie Bryson, who has multiple sclerosis, and Claire Shepardson, who has muscular dystrophy, sued the Department of Health and Human Services in late 1999. Their action was intended to get them and others with disabilities out of nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and rehab centers, and into homes in the community.
Earlier that year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that unnecessarily institutionalizing people with disabilities violates their rights under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Since 2001, New Hampshire has increased its budget for the Medicaid community-based waiver program from $6.6 million to about $11.2 million, helping hundreds get off of waiting list and into the community.
Both Bryson and Shepardson have gotten out of the nursing homes where they had been housed for years, and are now living in their own homes in the community.
"Judge rules against women who sued to get out of nursing homes" (Associated Press via Boston Globe)