Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Legislation


Ohio - Updates on the Ball v. Kasich Class Action

On March 31, 2016, Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) announced it filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court against the Governor of Ohio and other state officials on behalf of six individuals and one organization for alleged non-
compliance of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504, and Medicaid requirements.
DRO claims that the state government has not done enough to prevent Ohioans with developmental disabilities (DD) from being unnecessarily admitted to care facilities that DRO considers to be institutions – places in which people with disabilities live, work, and receive care while separated from the wider community.
VOR supports the rights of families in opposing this action.
To track the progress of the lawsuit, see the links below.

Update on Ball v. Kasich - VOR Files Amicus Brief

VOR has requested permission from the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio to file an amicus brief in support of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their family members who have acted to prevent a class-action suit brought by Disability Rights Ohio (DRO).  DRO's suit seeks to reduce or remove funding in Ohio to Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs) and sheltered workshops in favor of community care options.   While community settings are appropriate for many individuals with disabilities, not all disabled individuals can handle or benefit from them.  VOR supports a continuum of care to accommodate the diverse needs of all people with disabilities, including settings which provide higher levels of care for people with severe and profound needs.

Update on Ball v. Kasich - Families Granted Intervention

Ohio families of individuals who need and choose Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF) were granted intervention in the Ball v. Kasich class action filed by Disability Rights Ohio.

This is a very positive developmental in this case as ICF families have been given a place in this fight to protect the interests of their vulnerable family members whose homes, sheltered workshops and day programs are put at risk by this litigation.

Lead lawyer for the ICF families, William Choslovsky, stated,

“This is a great day for all intellectually disabled Ohioans.  In his detailed opinion, Chief Judge Sargus nails it.  He ‘gets it’ not just on a legal level, but also on a human level.  As Chief Judge Sargus ruled:”

‘This litigation is complex and important.  Excluding individuals with disabilities who will be directly impacted is not the appropriate way to make this case less complex.’  [Chief Judge Sargus, Opinion and Order, p.22] 

“Only by having all intellectually disabled Ohioans at the table – both those who want to live in small settings and those, like our clients, who want to remain in their large settings – can all interests be addressed.”

“Put most simply, you don’t rob Peter to pay Paul.  That is, expanding choice for some should not come at the expense of eliminating choice for others.  Chief Judge Sargus gets that.” 

Continued

Report on the 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill

Last week, Congress passed the 2016 Spending Bill. Several VOR members have been working with the Labor Health & Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee to try to get protective language written into the bill that would favor VOR's positions on choice and the rights of the I/DD population. While we succeeded in the House, the Senate LHHS Subcommittee did not agree and the House language was changed.

While we did not achieve the language we wanted, we did achieve some language which will hopefully be a step forward in bringing pressure on the Administration to address our grievances with federal policies which allow federal funds to support law suits brought in the name of individuals with cognitive deficits without their legal guardians’ approval.

You may read or download the text of the bill here