A Platform for Disability Rights Change at the White House
As we review President Obama’s first term, ADAPT is deeply disappointed by his failure to keep his promises to the Disability Community and make substantive progress supporting the integration of people with disabilities in the community. As we look forward into his second term, ADAPT urges the Disability Community to hold him accountable for these failures but also to demand that he address the critical issues we are raising. Today, ADAPT demands that President Obama…
KEEP HIS PROMISES to the Disability Community by:
- Issuing a statement that he supports the development of legislation that would finally end Medicaid’s institutional bias and assure that people with disabilities have a community-based alternative to institutional placement; and
- Instructing the Office of Management and Budget to return the proposed rules implementing changes to the “companionship exemption” to the Department of Labor and require DOL to follow Executive Order 13563 and fully involve the Disability Community in the development of these rules, or alternatively – implement the compromise proposed by ADAPT and the National Council on Independent Living.
EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE the Disability Community by:
- Hiring staff from the Disability Community in the Office of Public Engagement who can create and coordinate direct dialogue between the Obama Administration and Americans with disabilities; and
- Hiring staff from the Disability Community for the White House Domestic Policy Council who can assure that the voice of the Disability Community is included in the domestic policy-making process in the White House.
LEAD THE COUNTRY in ending the injustice of institutionalization by:
- Designating Vice President Biden as an “Ambassador for Community Living” and sending him on an Olmstead Anniversary Tour where he visits ten model programs for transitioning people with disabilities into the community and convenes round-tables in ten states to support them in developing effective systems for truly integrating people with disabilities; and
- Issuing an Executive Order that acknowledges inhumane, outmoded and expensive warehousing of people in nursing facilities and other institutions and implements specific steps to end this practice.
Of course, much of the work to FREE OUR PEOPLE must be done by the Federal agencies.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
The President should instruct HHS Secretary Sebelius to:
- Identify a process for minimizing the negative impact of state budget cuts on Long Term Services and Supports when the maintenance of effort requirement under the Affordable Care Act expires;
- Establish Olmstead benchmarks for states to assure that they adhere to minimum standards for providing effective community-based alternatives to institutions and withhold Medicaid funding from states that fail to meet such benchmarks;
- Work with the Department of Justice to align the complaint processes used by the HHS Office for Civil Rights and the Department of Justice so complaints to eliminate the need for DOJ to re-investigate complaints that have already been investigated by HHS;
- Assure that implementation of managed care or other changes in Medicaid at the state level promote community living and self-direction and do not undercut Medicaid recipients’ rights to appeal decisions and have appropriate hearing rights including aid continuing;
- Work with the ADAPT to strengthen the Community First Choice (CFC) Option and assure that CFC implementation lives up to its promise.
- Develop a process to assure that HHS reviews its policies and procedures to identify how it can assure compliance with the ADA’s integration mandate;
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
The President should instruct HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to:
- Immediately disseminate the Olmstead guidance that was shared with ADAPT in January 2013 without any weakened language;
- Implement an improved system to track nursing facility transition vouchers to assure that these vouchers continue to be used for this purpose when they are returned;
- Include people with disabilities in nursing facilities and institutions within the definition of “homeless”;
- Develop a package of pre-approved policies, procedures and other necessary documentation that housing authorities can simply adopt in order to implement preferences or set-asides for people with disabilities seeking community living; and
- Develop and distribute guidance that individuals with disabilities who are seeking to leave institutions and live in the community must be granted a reasonable accommodation that allows them to receive the next available voucher in order to transition.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
The President should instruct Attorney General Eric Holder to:
- Immediately pursue Olmstead enforcement addressing the institutionalization of people with disabilities – of all ages – in nursing facilities;
- Instruct the Civil Rights Division to meet with representatives of ADAPT and the National Council on Independent Living to develop a plan to address the concern of retaliation at the state and local level which is under-cutting the availability of supports from this unique network of disability-led organizations; and
- Meet with members of ADAPT to better understand the disability community’s concerns about the Olmstead implications of Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the “companionship exemption” and include ADAPT in a meeting with the Office of Management and Budget to address this issue.