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Olmstead implementation spotty, says report

Aug. 19, 2003 -- The National Council on Disability has released a comprehensive, online analysis of federal and state implementation of the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision, saying community-based services work, but more needs to be done.

"Overall, progress to varying degrees has occurred in the implementation of the Olmstead decision," says today's press statement. " However, given the many areas where progress has not yet been achieved and in recognition of the relatively brief time since the decision was rendered and governmental initiatives were undertaken, it is clear that further efforts are necessary to increase public awareness of Olmstead. It is also necessary to provide education and clarification regarding the applications and implications of the decision to relevant entities, and provide resources necessary to both encourage and to ensure effective adherence to the spirit and intent of Olmstead."

According to NCD chairperson Lex Frieden, "The extent of unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities in the United States is daunting."

NCD's 464-page report, titled "Olmstead: Reclaiming Institutionalized Lives," says the feds should provide more guidance to states on how to follow the Supreme Court decision and make sure states are identifying people with disabilities who could live in community settings rather than institutions."

Among the recommendations are that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) determine "whether the states are adequately identifying residents of Medicaid-funded and -certified facilities that can handle and benefit from community living" and that the Dept. of Heath and Human Services "refocus its Real Choice Systems Change grant program as a true system-change project by shifting from funding demonstration projects to funding change that affects entire service systems" and "require the states to identify all institutionalized people in the state and their need for community services."

More information about the report from NCD

Mark Quigley, Director of Communications
National Council on Disability




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