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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ind. Decisions - "ACLU of Indiana, Plaintiffs with Disabilities Win Appeal Challenging Changes to Indiana's Medicaid Waiver Program"

Updating yesterday's late-afternoon ILB post, the ACLU of Indiana has now released a statement:

A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit late yesterday sided with the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and several plaintiffs with disabilities who challenged a state agency's changes to Indiana's Medicaid Waiver programs, changes that limit the ability of Hoosiers to become active members of their communities and, ultimately, put them at risk of losing their independence and being institutionalized.

The programs, which serve thousands of Hoosiers, offer services that enable people to live in their communities even though their disabling conditions would otherwise require that they be placed in an institution.

"The U.S. Supreme Court long ago recognized the harm that unnecessary segregation causes people with disabilities, and this harm exists whether they are segregated in a formal institution or in the restrictive environment of their own homes," said Gavin M. Rose, ACLU of Indiana senior staff attorney. "Right now, Indiana is not living up to its duties under the Americans with Disabilities Act or to its responsibilities to people in our society who truly need our help." * * *

In its reversal of the district court ruling, the Court held that the State "may not, by invoking the rules of its waiver program, limit qualified persons to only 12 hours in the community each week." It also held that the State may not limit services to an extent whereby people with disabilities are placed at risk of unnecessary institutionalization.

Chief Judge Diane Wood, writing for the three-judge panel that included Judge Michael Stephen Kanne and Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner, said that "Congress intended the ADA to 'provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities." The Court also pointed out that Indiana's institutions are able to serve only a small fraction of people enrolled in its waiver programs.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 11, 2016 03:15 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions