June 22, 2016 is the 17th Anniversary of the 1999 Olmstead U.S. Supreme Court decision. The fight to realize the intent of the the Olmstead decision continues for people living in Intermediate Care Facilities for people with Developmental Disabilities, people living in Institutes for Mental Diseases, and people living in Nursing Homes, to live in communities throughout the country.
The following is information is a privilege to share this important part of ADA History.
Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone
The story of the Olmstead case begins with two women, Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, who had mental illness and developmental disabilities, and were voluntarily admitted to the psychiatric unit in the State-run Georgia Regional Hospital. Following the women's medical treatment there, mental health professionals stated that each was ready to move to a community-based program. However, the women remained confined in the institution, each for several years after the initial treatment was concluded. They filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for release from the hospital.
On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Court held that public entities must provide community-based services to persons with disabilities when (1) such services are appropriate; (2) the affected persons do not oppose community-based treatment; and (3) community-based services can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the public entity and the needs of others who are receiving disability services from the entity.
The Supreme Court explained that its holding "reflects two evident judgments." First, "institutional placement of persons who can handle and benefit from community settings perpetuates unwarranted assumptions that persons so isolated are incapable of or unworthy of participating in community life." Second, "confinement in an institution severely diminishes the everyday life activities of individuals, including family relations, social contacts, work options, economic independence, educational advancement, and cultural enrichment."
The personal stories of a few of the thousands of people whose lives have been improved by the Olmstead decision and the Department's Olmstead enforcement work can be accessed at https://www.ada.gov/olmstead/olmstead_about.htm
To learn about Olmstead and how to Advocate using Olmstead by visiting OlmStead Rights at www.olmsteadrights.org.
For all previous posts on Olmstead: CLICK HERE