On July 11th, Mary Lazare, Principal Deputy Administrator and Acting Commissioner on Disabilities at the Administration for Community Living (ACL) spoke at the Autism Society's 2018 Convention in Washington, D.C. During her keynote speech, Ms. Lazare expressed recognition for Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) as part of the full system of care. While no recording of the speech exists, third hand accounts of Ms. Lazare's comments have spread throughout social media. "Community Only" advocates were outraged, and have raised their voices demanding retraction of her comments and calling for her resignation.
Three members of Congress wrote to the ACL to express their views on the matter. Their letter included reterences to the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead that either willfully misrepresented the ruling or showed a lack of understanding of what is actually written in the decision. VOR wrote to the three representatives, along with ACL Administrator Lance Robertson and Ms. Lazare, to emphasize the need for ICFs/IID in a full continuum of care and to clarify the true meaning of Olmstead for these lawmakers and their associates.
Each year, VOR hosts a State Report Forum as part of our events at the VOR Annual Conference. Members and conference participants are encouraged to share their experiences with one another, with the hope that we may learn from one another and gain insights into how we may best address our own challenges.
On March 31, 2016, Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) announced it filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court against the Governor of Ohio and other state officials on behalf of six individuals and one organization for alleged non-
compliance of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504, and Medicaid requirements.
DRO claims that the state government has not done enough to prevent Ohioans with developmental disabilities (DD) from being unnecessarily admitted to care facilities that DRO considers to be institutions – places in which people with disabilities live, work, and receive care while separated from the wider community.
VOR supports the rights of families in opposing this action.
To track the progress of the lawsuit, see the links below.
On March 6th, 2018 the House Judiciary Committee convened to examine the harmful effects of class action lawsuits aimed at closing Intermediate Care Facilites for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF's/IID). The hearing came at the request of Chairman Bob Goodlatte. Testimony was presented by Martha Bryant, Mother, RN, BSN & VOR member, Caroline Lahrmann, Mother, VOR Ohio State Coordinator & past president, and Peter Kinzler, Father, longtime VOR Member, Director & Legislative Committee Chair. Alison Barkoff of the Center for Public Representation. spoke on behalf of those in favor of using class action lawsuits against ICF's/IID and opposed to providing notification to families and guardians of individuals residing in these homes.
Click here to read or download testimony of the participants.
Click here to view the hearing. Video begins at 5:18
Click here to read additional testimony submitted by VOR
VOR's Ongoing Document:
Updated August 21, 2018
This document provides a bibliography of investigative media series, state audits and peer-reviewed research in more than half the states that detail systemic concerns with regard to quality of care in community-based settings for persons with developmental disabilities. Tragedies range from physical, emotional, and financial abuse, neglect and even death. Many of these outcomes are associated with a zest to move to a "community for all" vision people with developmental disabilities without adequately considering the ramifications of separating vulnerable people from specialized care and then doing away with a critical safety net (a/k/a deinstitutionalization). The lessons learned from more than 25 states should cause policymakers and lawmakers to take pause and recognize that a range of needs requires a range of service options.