On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has entered into an interim settlement agreement with the state of Texas which will expand home and community based services (HCBS) for Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The settlement comes out of a private lawsuit that alleged the state was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by inappropriately placing people with IDD in nursing facilities. The DOJ had filed a motion to intervene in the case two years ago, and at that time put the state on notice that it was in violation of the ADA under the Olmstead doctrine. The 1999 Supreme Court case of Olmstead v. L.C. found that the ADA required states provide services to people with disabilities in the most integrated, least restrictive settings appropriate.
The original complaint in the Texas case alleged that individuals with IDD were unnecessarily segregated in nursing facilities, and were not provided needed treatment and services while there. Work continues on a final settlement agreement, but in the meantime the interim agreement contains a number of commitments by the state that will allow people to move out of institutionalized settings and into the community. Specifically, the agreement will add in excess of six hundred slots to the HCBS waiver program in the state starting next year to help transition people out of nursing homes. The agreement also calls for the the state to identify people with IDD in nursing facilities, inform them about community options, and help those who want to move to the community receive the services they need there.