VOR Renews Calls for Moratorium on Deinstitutionalization Lawsuits

See Updated Release - November 30, 2012

January 12, 2012

Concerned About Deaths of Intellectually Disabled Individuals,
National Organization Renews its Call for Moratorium on Deinstitutionalization Lawsuits

    VOR, a national advocacy organization representing people with intellectual disabilities and their families, today renewed its urgent request of Members of Congress in several states to call for a moratorium of federally-funded deinstitutionalization lawsuits.

       VOR renewed its call for Congressional action in light of ongoing reports by the New York Times which detail the ‘unnatural or unknown” deaths, abuse, neglect, and financial fraud perpetrated on New York’s most vulnerable citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (see, New York TimesAbused and Used” series, from March 2011 – current). 

    “Reports of people with profound disabilities experiencing harm and death after being displaced from specialized settings are frighteningly predictable,” said Tamie Hopp, VOR’s Director of Government Relations and Advocacy, citing a bibliography of similar reports from around the country.

   A recent New York Times article reported that the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) released a report criticizing New York’s federal protection and advocacy system, the NYS Commission on Quality of Care & Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (“U.S. Report Criticizes New York on Monitoring Care of Developmentally Disabled,” January 11, 2012).  

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VOR Seeks Moratorium on Deinstitutionalization Lawsuits

December 21

Concerned About Deaths of Intellectually Disabled Individuals,
National Organization Calls for Moratorium on Deinstitutionalization Lawsuits

    VOR, a national advocacy organization representing people with intellectual disabilities and their families, today asked Members of Congress in several states to call for a moratorium of federally-funded deinstitutionalization lawsuits.

    “Protection & Advocacy and Department of Justice lawsuits have forced people with severe intellectual disabilities from their specialized homes and into smaller, unlicensed settings that are too-often not prepared to handle people with such severe degrees of intellectual disability,” said Tamie Hopp, VOR’s Director of Government Relations & Advocacy.

    VOR’s call for a moratorium was prompted by the New York Times reporting of tragic preventable deaths of hundreds of people in New York group homes. Specifically, the Times found that “One in six of all deaths in state and privately run group homes [in New York], or more than 1,200 in the past decade, has been attributed to either unnatural or unknown causes. (“1,200 Deaths and Few Answers,” November 6, 2011).

    “The silence by federal agencies in response to these deaths is deafening,” said Hopp. “Not only have P&A and DOJ done little if anything in response to these deaths, which numbered more than a 100 per year over 10 years, they have continued their ideological warfare on larger Medicaid-licensed and funded ICFs/MR.”

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IL-ADD Releases Cost Analysis

The Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled (IL-ADD) has challenged the myth that all persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) can be served for less cost in smaller, unlicensed settings.

On October 13, they released a summary and  detailed cost analysis that considered the actual cost of care for an individual in a state Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) as compared to what that same individual would cost in a smaller setting. The analysis considered three care scenarios for BRB in a Home and Community-Based Services waiver setting (called "CILAs" in Illlinois).

BRB is a current resident of a state-operated ICFs/IID. BRB is 41 years old, 6' tall, 190 lbs, and healthy. He has a pervasive developmental disorder with borderline intellectual functioning. He is being treated for obsessive/compulsive behaviors which presently involve consuming huge amounts of fluid; interruptions of is O/C behaviors can bring violent responses. He also has a history of life-threatening PICA, however this has been completely extinguished in his present state-operated ICF/IID setting. He is prone to unpredictable explosive physical aggression toward peers, staff and property. He has been expelled from community-based programs.

While very challenging, BRB is not the most challenging among his peers at his ICF/IID; he cannot be dismissed as a uniquely expensive case. For example, he does not present severe medical conditions, seizure activities, sexual aggression, fire-starting, or (at this time) PICA.

Cost Comparison Findings (Summary)

Some closure advocates claim that people can be served in the community for "on average $55,000" per year. In fact, BRB's care would cost:

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Defining "Community" and other HCBS Waiver Proposals: VOR Comments

VOR’s comments relate to the three substantive sections of the proposed federal rule:

(I) Target Groups;
(II) HCBS settings (defining “community”); and
(III) Person-Centered Planning.

Click here to read VOR Comments: CMS-2296-P, April 15, 2011

 

VOR Submits Federal Comments on Medicaid and Community

On August 17, 2009, VOR submitted its comments in response to the federal Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and  Human Services which oversees Medicaid programs. The ANPRM asked for comments relating to allowing states to combine home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers for people with different disabilties who have similar functional needs. CMS also sought input on how to define "community."

In its comment, VOR expressed significant concern that current state budget woes and administrative conveniences would prove too great of temptations to States, leading to dangerous comingling of people with incompatable disability-types, leading to tragic consequences. Many real life examples were cited to reinforce VOR's stated concerns. With regard to defining community, VOR pointed out that both facilities and smaller settings can be "integrated." Our comments reinforce the need for choice, and Olmstead's support for choice.

 

VOR Supports New Jersey Bill to Protect Individuals with Disabilities Served Out-of-State

VOR Statement in SUPPORT of A3975 and S2600: Prohibiting the Transfer of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities from Out-of-State to In-State Placements if Written Objection Provided and One or More Conditions Exist

January 14, 2015

VOR supports A3975 and S2600 which protect against the transfers of individuals now receiving out-of-state care when the individual or his/her legal guardian objects in writing and when certain conditions relating to the length of placement, proximity to family, cost to the state or level of care needs exist. 

A3975 and S2600’s consideration of individual choice, need and state resources is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Olmstead v. L.C. decision.

Read full statement


 
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