Louisiana advocates sue to implement Olmstead
The New-Orleans based Resources for Independent Living and 5 disabled individuals filed a class action suit April 11 against the Louisiana Dept. of Health and Human Services over its long waiting list for home- and community-based services.
The suit charges that the state's "requirement that Plaintiffs be confined in segregated nursing facilities in order for them to receive needed long-term care services, and its concomitant failure to provide Plaintiffs with these services in the community, violates the integration mandate of the ADA."
The state hasn't informed disabled people about getting services in their homes and in the community, says the lawsuit.
The state "violated their rights under the ADA and Section 504 by failing to provide appropriate, community-based long-term services, but instead offered only unnecessarily segregated and isolated services in nursing facilities."
Attorneys for the lawsuit include Stephen F. Gold and the Lafayette, LA -based Advocacy Center.
Louisiana has a home and community based services waiver for "elderly and disabled" adults, one for personal care assistance, and one for individuals with mental retardation or developmental disabilities, says the suit.
"Approximately 90 percent of Louisiana's expenditures for long-term care services go to institutional, rather than home and community-based services. Well over half of these institutional expenditures go to nursing homes. While Louisiana ranks near the bottom of all the states both in the percentage of its population that receives home and community-based waiver services, and in its per capita expenditures on such services, it ranks near the top in the percentage of its population that is institutionalized in order to receive long-term health care," the suit continues. "Louisiana's supply of nursing facility beds far outnumbers that of most states.
In 1998, Louisiana had 34,400 Medicaid recipients living in nursing homes. In contrast, less than 1,000 Medicaid recipients in Louisiana received home and community-based services under its Elderly and Disabled Adult and Personal Care Attendant waivers."