by Melissa Ortiz, Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities
“Eighteen years ago today, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in the case Olmstead v. L.C. The court ruled that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities cannot be unnecessarily segregated and must receive services in the most integrated setting possible.
“In other words, if someone is able to live in the community with appropriate services and supports, they should have the choice to do so.
“The ruling acknowledged the existence of resource limitations, but it also said states should take “reasonable steps” to provide community-based alternatives to institutions. That has increased the availability and quality of services in the community for people with disabilities.
“It also has changed government spending. In 1999, Medicaid spent nearly three times more on long-term services and supports provided in institutions like nursing homes than it did on services in the community. By 2013, a majority of that funding was going toward services and supports in the community.
“To illustrate what that has meant for people with disabilities, let’s imagine a baby born with cerebral palsy on the day of the ruling, June 22, 1999.”
Continue reading this article at the Administration for Community Living Website.