Missouri services restrictions challenged

Four Missouri residents with disabilities are at risk of institutionalization because they have “aged out” of a state program providing home-based services.

As a result, the individuals, whose disabilities include cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and liver disease, would have had to move out of their homes after turning 21 this past year, if not for donations from charities and families. This created an “overwhelming financial hardship,” according to Department of Justice amicus brief filed by on behalf of the residents in October 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri following the original complaint in August 2010.

The Supreme Court ruled in its 1999 Olmstead decision that states can not unnecessarily segregate people with disabilities in institutions. In addition, “The American with Disabilities Act does not, however, permit the state to require plaintiffs to be unnecessarily institutionalized merely to gain access to covered services,” according to the amicus brief.

It would cost the state $40,000 per year to take care of each individual in a nursing home. The figure is 20 times what it costs to provide that residents medical services at home.

“Any cost saved by offering them to eligible Medicaid recipients living in the community is negligible and is clearly outweighed by the benefits of allowing patients to remain in their homes,” according to the amicus brief.