Freedom Clearinghouse Advocates Make Power Moves

Three updates as of 3/08/00

One update from

One STOP THE PRESSES! update from 4/29/00


Cartoon showing a bureaucrat sitting at his desk, eyeing a shark fin making its way toward him across the liquid-appearing desktop. The shark's fin has Olmstead written on it.




Feds on white horses charge into state meeting








Jefferson City, Missouri -- February 4, 2000
by Candace Hawkins

The room was already packed with feds and advocates when I arrived early for the meeting [on Missouri's compliance with the Supreme Court's Olmstead ruling.] A total of 75 attended in a room with capacity for 50.
State agency folks -- the ones who are expected to follow this plan -- were scarce. But heavy-hitting feds were all over it. John Halverson, Region VII manager of the HHS Office of Civil Rights, and three staffers attended. HHS OCR's Director, Tom Perez, sent special counsel Sheila Foran and Claudia Schlossberg out from DC.
Foran set the tone for the meeting: we were there to implement Olmstead. The representative from Missouri Medicaid later made reference to the [puny] waiver, but avoided details.
The feds walked us through what's required in Olmstead state plans. We listed everyone not in attendance who needed to be there. State agency folks slipped out to make furtive calls at the lunch break. Agencies in the hot seat -- state hospitals, habilitation centers and Division on Aging -- lined up to use the phones.

Curiously, many of those agency reps did not return after lunch as the group got busy identifying issues and organizing to formulate a plan. Two state legislators reminded the crowd that we need allies in the General Assembly to assure that Olmstead implementation is funded and state impediments removed. Our deadline is July 26, 2000.

Region VII

Montana advocates file Olmstead complaint vs. sheltered workshop

from reporting by Joe Ehman
Three times since January the Region VII Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights has met with a coalition of advocates from Freedom Clearinghouse, ADAPT, the Arc and others at the Atlantis CIL in Denver. Groups from other states in the region came in to join us, too.
HHS-OCR acting manager Velveta Howell, until recently a litigator for that office, gave us a summary of complaints which have been filed by our advocates in the region. One class complaint has come from Utah, another from Colorado, five from Montana including two class complaints that the state segregates people in sheltered workshops and day programs instead of funding community-based services.
Day-programming segregation amounts to what Howell calls "discrimination by states based on funding decisions."
So yes, Olmstead applies not just to residential "care," but to all state programs. Repeat: all.

National Web

Clearinghouse website offers new power tools

New pages on the Clearinghouse website allow advocates to print out an official HHS Office of Civil Rights Complaint form, plus a copy of the HHS regulation which requires any facility receiving government funds to allow individual advocates or advocacy "entities" access to those facilities so as to meet with, and advocate for, inmates there. We've had this power for a long time, but who knew?
For a state-by-state list of advocates who've signed up [it's updated almost daily] add /network/advocates.htm to the web address of
So far, only Maine, Nebraska, South Dakota, South Carolina, and Vermont are unrepresented on the advocate list. Among the territories, only American Samoa is unrepresented.

Update March 11

Clearinghouse website offers new state plan blueprint

Mary Johnson, editor of Ragged Edge Magazine has written a blueprint for state plans to get into compliance with the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision.
Candace Hawkins has written a step-by-step how-to for advocates to get their states going. That will be up on the Freedom Clearinghouse website probably by the time you read this.



Update April 28

Missouri legislature says "Long-term care money must follow the person."

Candace Hawkins, an advocate for her own state of Missouri, told us today that the Missouri State Legislature did not appropriate the expected $74 million in the state's long-term care funding to "follow the person" -- they appropriated more. Counting the federal match, between $650 and $725 million will be free to follow the person from institutions to real life in the community.
As of July 1 of this year, every citizen of the state will have the right to choose the setting where they receive long-term care services. This is the first such state-wide compliance with the Supreme Court's Olmstead ruling. "One down, forty-nine to go," Hawkins said.
We estimate that 53,576 people will now have the right to choose where they live. The state inspects 78,500 beds in residences (nursing home, group home, ICF-M R, mental hospital and personal care home) and the majority are Medicaid funded.
For more on this story, including how we arrived at our estimate, click here.
Kirsten Dunham, advocate for Paraquad Independent Living Center in St. Louis, took part in an April 27 press conference at the state capital where she urged the state's departments to "take immediate steps to identify individuals in institutions who can move to the community using existing services and to give people choices before they have to enter an institution."
As the legislators noted, the state does not yet have a mechanism in place to locate people who wish to live in freedom, or to accommodate their wish to do so.
The AARP Missouri chapter was present in force at the press conference, putting their considerable support behind the legislators who pushed this bill through. Representative Quincy Troupe of St. Louis and State Senator Joe Maxwell of Mexico, Missouri, took the lead in this legislative battle.
Until now, 78 percent of Missouri's long-term care dollars were paid to isolate its disabled citizens in nursing homes and other institutions. In its historic Olmstead decision, the U.S. Supreme Court called that "unjustifiable isolation... properly regarded as discrimination."

NOTE TO READERS: Candace began her work with the Ad Hoc Coaltion right after Christmas. It can be done -- and done quickly.


Joe Ehman, who wrote the Region VIII update, also wrote "Contaminated Smile" for this issue.





Freedom Clearinghouse is a project of Free Hand Press, publisher of Mouth magazine. To see the Freedom Clearinghouse website,
click here.

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