The Minnesota Olmstead Plan is a set of goals our state must meet so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work, and enjoy life alongside everyone else in the community.
We believe that if you have a disability, you should have the same chance as people without disabilities to:
In short, the Olmstead Plan helps state agencies set and meet goals that will improve the quality of life for Minnesotans with disabilities.
The most recent version of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan was approved on April 25, 2022. You can read the most current plan here:
You can read a plain language version of the 2020 revision, which is easier to understand than the official document, here:
Some State of Minnesota agencies play an important role in the lives of people with disabilities. The people in a group called the Olmstead Subcabinet help make sure the agencies meet their Olmstead Plan goals. If an agency isn't meeting its goals, the Olmstead Implementation Office (OIO) works with them to find ways to do better. You can read more about OIO on this page: About the Olmstead Implementation Office
The Olmstead Subcabinet includes these state government departments and offices:
“Olmstead” is the last name of a person. That person was part of an important court case called Olmstead versus L.C., which was decided in 1999.
Two women from Georgia who have disabilities wanted to live in their community, not in an institution. But Tommy Olmstead, who worked for the state government in Georgia, would not let them live where they wanted. The Supreme Court said the women should not have to live in an institution.
The Supreme Court said states couldn’t keep people with disabilities from living, working, or interacting with people who don’t have disabilities. The court said people with disabilities have the right to make their own decisions about their lives. The United States Constitution and a law called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) give people with disabilities these rights.
You can read more about the Olmstead court case and how it helps people with disabilities at this U.S. Government website: Olmstead Community Integration for Everyone.
You can find out how Minnesota helps people with disabilities get the medical care and equipment they need on this U.S. Government website: Medicaid & CHIP in Minnesota.
In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton used his power as governor to create the Olmstead Subcabinet and told that group to write the Minnesota Olmstead Plan. You can read Governor Dayton's Executive Order in our Related Documents and Reports Library here: 2013-01-28 Executive Order 13-01.pdf
We also have this plan because some Minnesotans with disabilities sued the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). That court case is called Jensen. These people were living in a place just for people with disabilities, and DHS was in charge of the facility where they lived. You can read the Court's orders in the Jensen case in our Court Documents library.
The State of Minnesota and the people who sued DHS agreed to use the Minnesota Olmstead Plan to make things better for all people with disabilities in Minnesota.
Below is a brief history highlighting the efforts that resulted in the current Minnesota Olmstead Plan. You can find a more detailed history of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan on this website: With an Eye to the Future
In December, the Minnesota Department of Health (DHS) entered into a settlement agreement with the people who sued the agency in Jensen. The agreement required the creation of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan.
The Minnesota Olmstead Planning Committee was created. It included people with disabilities, family members, advocates, staff from DHS, and people who worked for service providers. The Committee made recommendations to Commissioner of DHS Lucinda Jesson. One of the recommendations asked the Governor to create an Olmstead Subcabinet to make sure that state agencies worked together well to plan and make changes.
In January of 2013, Governor Mark Dayton issued Executive Order 13-01 which created the Olmstead Subcabinet and told that group to write and put into place a plan that supported freedom of choice and opportunity for people with disabilities.
Throughout 2013, the Olmstead Subcabinet worked on several drafts of the Olmstead Plan and held listening sessions to hear from people in Minnesota about it. A monitor who was appointed by the Court told the Court that there was more work to be done on the plan before should be approved.
In January of 2014, the Court provisionally approved the Olmstead Plan, which meant that it would not be totally approved until some changes were made and other work done. In September, the Court did not adopt the Olmstead Plan for several reasons, including that it lacked measurable goals.
Throughout 2014, the Olmstead Subcabinet continued to work on the Olmstead Plan. The OIO was also created, staffed, and given a budget.
In January of 2015, the Court again provisionally approved a revised version of the Olmstead Plan. Also, Governor Dayton issued Executive Order 15-03, which said more about what the Olmstead Subcabinet needed to do.
Throughout 2015, the Olmstead Subcabinet continued to work on the Olmstead Plan. They also worked on approving State Agencies’ work plans and agreed on the processes the Subcabinet would use to make sure the Olmstead Plan was put into place. During this time, the Court again declined to adopt the Olmstead Plan.
In August, a revised version of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan was submitted to the Court, where it was approved in September.
Every year the Olmstead Implementation Office (OIO) gets feedback from people about the Olmstead Plan and makes changes.
The OIO asks people with disabilities, “Are we reaching the goals of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan? Are we closer to our destination?” Like on a road trip, even with a map, you might take a wrong turn. So, we check to see if we’re heading in the right direction. If we find things blocking our way, we update the Minnesota Olmstead Plan to get back on the right path.