2016: Minnesota's Olmstead Plan is Updated
An Olmstead Plan is a public entity's plan for implementing its obligation to provide individuals with disabilities opportunities to live, work, and be served in integrated settings.
- In 2012, Minnesota began creating its Olmstead Plan, with the help of the Olmstead Planning Committee.
- In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton established an Olmstead Subcabinet to develop and implement the Plan, knowing that changes and updates would always be required.
- In 2015, Governor Dayton issued Executive Order 15-03 which further defined the role and nature of the Olmstead Subcabinet. He subsequently designated Commissioner Mary Tingerthal of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to be the chair of the Subcabinet.
"We expect that people with disabilities and their families will tell us what is working – and what is not working – when it comes to improving the quality of their lives. We will ask and we will listen, and we have proposed how we will amend this Plan in the future to improve the outcomes of our actions. We see this as a starting point – not a final destination," said Subcabinet Chair, Mary Tingerthal.
- In 2016, the Olmstead Plan was amended to include new goals related to Assistive Technology and the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect of people with disabilities. The Court approved these amendments in June 2016.
Assistive technology refers to any device, system, or equipment that allows an individual with disabilities to reach levels of functioning that he or she would not be able to display without the technology.
Assistive technology is defined as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. This definition does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such a device."
[20 U.S.C. Chapter 33, Section 1401 (25)].
According to the 2016 Amendments to the Olmstead Plan, Assistive Technology Services were to include:
- The evaluation of the needs of an individual with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the individual in the individual's customary environments;
- Purchasing, leasing or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by individuals with disabilities;
- Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
- Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
- Training or technical assistance for individuals with a disability or, if appropriate, that individual's family; and
- Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of that individual.
[20 U.S.C. Chapter 33, Section 1401 (26)]
Prevention of Abuse and Neglect of People with Disabilities
Research shows that individuals with disabilities are at a higher risk for abuse and neglect than the population as a whole, and that when abuse or neglect does occur within this population, it is frequently unreported. The Olmstead Plan website includes more information and trend data on the occurrence of abuse and neglect and violent crimes against people with disabilities.
In this effort the state will utilize three strategies: prevention, reduction, and remediation.
- Prevention by education and public information to improve the awareness of the occurrence of abuse and neglect, and how to report it;
- Reduction of maltreatment by carefully monitoring trends of abuse and neglect and targeting abusers for prosecution and providing caregivers with effective education; and
- Remediation by addressing patterns and issues of occurrence both at the system level and the individual level.
The Olmstead Subcabinet eventually approved a comprehensive abuse and neglect prevention plan, designed to educate people with disabilities and their families and guardians, all mandated reporters, and the general public on how to identify, report and prevent abuse of people with disabilities. The Amended Plan included the following elements:
- Information and training on the use of the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center (MAARC);
- Recommendations regarding a "Stop Abuse" campaign;
- Recommendations regarding the feasibility for creating a system for reporting abuse of children;
- Analysis of data to develop materials for public awareness and targeted prevention activities;
- Timetable for implementation of each element of the abuse prevention plan; and
- Recommendations for developing common definitions and metrics related to maltreatment.
Ambitious goals were created to measure the number of emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations of vulnerable individuals due to abuse and neglect, identify multiple episodes of abuse or neglect that were alleged in one setting, and decrease the number of students with a disability who were identified as alleged victims of maltreatment within those schools.