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History of the Olmstead Plan

Why is it called the Olmstead Plan? 

“Olmstead” is the last name of a person. It comes from the groundbreaking 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision Olmstead v. L.C. This ruling affirmed the right of Americans with disabilities to live in the most integrated settings possible and laid the foundation for Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan. 

Olmstead v. L.C. 

The lead plaintiffs of the Olmstead decision were Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, two women with mental illness and developmental disabilities who were confined to a psychiatric unit at the Georgia Regional Hospital. Although mental health professionals deemed them ready to live in community-based programs, they remained institutionalized for several years. They filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to be released from the hospital.  

On June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision, Olmstead v. L.C. The ruling stated that segregating people with disabilities without a valid reason is discrimination, and public entities must provide community-based services when appropriate.  

Read more about the Olmstead court case at this federal ADA website: Olmstead Community Integration for Everyone 

Disability Rights North Dakota has a three minute video about the history of the Olmstead Decision and disability rights. Watch the "Olmstead Decision" video on YouTube.

Why does Minnesota have an Olmstead Plan? 

The catalyst for Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan was the Jensen Settlement Agreement. This settlement required the state of Minnesota to develop an Olmstead Plan. In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton used his executive power to create the Olmstead Subcabinet and tasked its members — leaders of state agencies and other state organizations — with writing the Plan. They spent two years researching how to improve services, refining topics and goals, and seeking public input before officially adopting the Plan in 2015. You can learn more about the Court's orders in the Jensen case in our Court Documents library

Even though the Olmstead Plan is no longer under court jurisdiction through the Jensen settlement, the state of Minnesota is still committed to continuing the Olmstead Plan.  

History of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan 

Below is a brief timeline highlighting the efforts that resulted in the current Minnesota Olmstead Plan. 

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