Please Support H.R. 6786 - The Goodlatte Bill
VOR, asks that contact your representatives in Congress, and ask them you support H.R. 6786, a bill introduced on September 12, 2018 by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to protect the families’ right to choose where their loved ones reside. Rep. Goodlatte’s bill would require that before any federally-financed class action lawsuit against a Medicaid-certified and funded ICF/IID can proceed, residents and guardians must receive notice of the proposed lawsuit and be given a time-limited opportunity to opt-out of the suit if they wish.
Why this bill is needed and supported by families of ICF/IID residents
Although the overwhelming number of family members and legal guardians typically object strongly to these lawsuits and their closure objectives because they are pleased with the care their loved ones are receiving, under the law that authorizes these actions, there is no requirement that residents or legal guardians be notified of a lawsuit and they have no right to opt out. Consequently, many residents of ICFs/IID are swept into these lawsuits against their or their family and guardians’ wishes.
Class action lawsuits have closed many ICFs/IID and reduced options for those who need fulltime care
Federally-funded attorneys have pursued more than 28 class action lawsuits against ICFs/IID, driven primarily by a bias against ICF/IID care. Since 1996, every federally-funded lawsuit against an ICF/IID has been for the primary purpose of removing residents from their ICF/IID home (“community integration”). The conditions of care were not at issue.
Fifteen of these cases have led to the closure of ICFs/IID, affecting thousands of individuals with intellectual disabilities (see, https://www.vor.net/get-help/more-resources/item/p-a-class-action-litigation). Bizarrely, despite the fact that ICFs/IID are a residential option created by federal law and funded and monitored by HHS, most of these lawsuits are filed under the Protection & Advocacy (P&A) program, whose lawyers are also funded by HHS. In essence, the government is in the absurd position of suing itself.
This bill could help prevent tragic outcomes and preserve residential choice
Families have good reason to be concerned. Closures oftentimes result in tragic outcomes for the former residents (see e.g., https://www.vor.net/get-help/more-resources/item/abuse-and-neglect-document), listing examples of systemic abuse, neglect and higher death rates in community settings for people with ID who have been moved out of ICFs/IID in many states and the District of Columbia). To view the concerns of several families, see the Judiciary Committee hearing held on March 6th of this year: https://judiciary.house.gov/hearing/examining-class-action-lawsuits-intermediate-care-facilities-individuals-intellectual-disabilities-icf-iid/
PLEASE ASK YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TO SUPPORT H.R. 6786
To take action, please go to:
Individuals and their families and legal guardians should make fundamental residential care decisions - Not lawyers!