Background on Olmstead
Jonathan Zimring, on the consolidated behalf of two female patients with mental disabilities, challenged Tommy Olmstead, the Commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Human Resources, for the Georgia Regional Hospital’s (GRH) decision to keep the two women in psychiatric isolation. Zimring argued that under Title II of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the women had to be moved to the most communally integrated setting possible. Defending GRH’s decision, Olmstead argued that although the women were medically cleared for a more integrated treatment setting, financial constraints and the need to fundamentally alter treatment programs prevented this from happening.
The three holdings of Olmstead Decision by the Supreme Court.
The Olmstead decision was NOT about closing institutions but allowing people with IDD to move to the community IF:
1.Treatment professionals have determined that such placement is appropriate.
2. When the affected persons do NOT oppose such treatment.
3. AND when the placement can be reasonably accommodated taking into account the resources available to the State and the needs of others with mental disabilities.
The Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C., recognized the value and legitimacy of institutional or
congregate care for those who want and need it.
Learning about Olmstead
Links to YouTube videos that explain Olmstead and it's relation to Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs)
David Axelrod talks about the decision to choose the type of housing that best suited Lauren, his daughter's needs. The ultimate choice they made as a family was Misercordia. All individuals with IDD should be able to access a continuum of care no matter their current level of need. David serves as member of the Misericordia Board of Advisors.
Articles of interest
Stop Blowing Civil Rights Smoke in My Eyes – A Parent’s Perspective
Transcript of John Hirschauer's testimony at a hearing held by the Pennsylvania state Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee. The subject of the hearing was the closure of two state-operated institutions for severely disabled adults.
Community is more than a place. Amy S.F. Lutz is an advocate and writer based in Pennsylvania. Amy's work has been featured in The Atlantic, Slate and Babble, among others, and she writes about autism at Inspectrum for Psychology Today. Amy Lutz writes eloquently and succinctly, "A better policy would focus on maximizing ends: happiness, health, safety. Perhaps most importantly, interpersonal connection."
Our opinion emphasizes that nothing in the ADA or its implementing regulations condones the termination of institutional treatment for persons unable to handle or benefit from community based care, nor is there any federal requirement that community based treatment be imposed on patients who do not desire it.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg
one size does not fit all
The U.S. Supreme Court recognized that health care and residential decisions for individuals with intellectual disabilities are to be based on individual choice – just as they are for all other Americans.