Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ADAPT calls on America to endorse real Medicaid reform that protects civil rights of seniors, people with disabilities

From ADAPT's Facebook page. In the picture, Larry Biondi fights the institutional bias.

June 22nd is the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Olmstead, which applied the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to long term services and supports.

In that decision, the Supreme Court affirmed that people with disabilities have a civil right to live in the community in the most integrated setting.

Twelve years later, members of Congress and state governments are trying to de-fund that right by cutting Medicaid and giving states “flexibility” to cut programs that assist people with disabilities and seniors to live in their own homes and communities.

In response to these harmful federal proposals, ADAPT is launching a campaign for real Medicaid reform that protects people’s liberty in every state of the country. Over the next few months, ADAPT and other disability organizations are mobilizing their members to visit their Congressional and state representatives and organize events in Washington DC and every state.

“We need to remind these federal and state policy makers that de-funding Medicaid de-funds our freedom and that is not acceptable,” said Rahnee Patrick, ADAPT Organizer from Chicago.

While Congressional Democrats have vowed to protect seniors and nursing facilities, their current proposals also cut vital home and community-based services that allow seniors and people with disabilities to stay in their own homes.

“Congress and state governments need to recognize that the freedom of Americans with disabilities and seniors is a civil rights ‘entitlement’ that they shouldn’t eliminate or diminish,” said Bruce Darling, ADAPT Organizer from Rochester, NY.

The campaign will be highlighted with a rally in Washington DC on Capitol Hill, Wednesday September 21st. ADAPT and the other campaign organizers are urging disability, senior and civil rights organizations in every state to hold their own events this summer and immediately begin working to bring people with disabilities and older Americans to our nation’s capital in September. For more information on the rally, go to ADAPT’s website at

ADAPT continues to meet with Congressional representatives and identify ways to contain Medicaid spending that implement people’s right to live in the community and save taxpayer dollars at the same time. These proposals include:

Expand the use of community-based services. Studies have demonstrated that by reducing the over-reliance on institutions and nursing facilities and shifting toward more cost-effective community-based services, states can contain Medicaid spending. Despite the growing body of evidence showing that community-based services are more cost effective, the federal government still allows states to continue their wasteful, institutionally-biased practices.

Demedicalize services. By reducing the reliance on costly medical personnel to provide assistance by allowing attendants to perform these tasks, states could use the same amount of Medicaid funding to support more seniors and people with disabilities living in their own homes. Changes in state Nurse Practices Acts could save millions of Medicaid dollars. Many of the long term services that are widely perceived as “medical” become a basic part of daily life to a person with disabilities. States continue to require that medical personnel provide such services, unnecessarily increasing Medicaid’s costs.

Expand consumer directed service options. By empowering people to manage their own services and reducing the need for administrative overhead, states can also reduce Medicaid expenditures. Many seniors and people with disabilities can manage their services and supervise the people providing the direct care, reducing the need for agencies to provide supervisory and administrative supports like training and scheduling.

Reorganize Medicaid services to eliminate wasteful bureaucracy. The current system wastefully organizes services based on diagnosis and age even though people may have the same functional needs. By organizing services based on functional needs states can eliminate redundant and needlessly expensive bureaucracies and reduce Medicaid expenditures. A system based on functional needs also eliminates gaps in services and makes services easier to access, reducing the need for professional assistance in navigating the system we currently have in place.