KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Texas Slow To Move Those With Disabilities Out Of Institutions

Georgia also struggles to move the developmentally disabled out of state hospitals and into community residences, and in Wyoming, cuts are leaving some disabled people with fewer opportunities to get care.

Texas Tribune: Advocates For Disabled Split On Keeping Institutions For Disabled Open 
On Monday, 15 years after a U.S. Supreme Court decision paved the way for some people with disabilities to move out of institutions and into community homes, advocates for Texans with disabilities called on state lawmakers to speed up that process here. The anniversary of Olmstead v. L.C. -- which advocates marked one day late with a press conference and cake -- comes as Texas is weighing whether to close some of the state’s 13 living centers for people with mental disabilities. The Supreme Court held in Olmstead that institutionalizing a person with disabilities is discrimination if appropriate community-based services can be reasonably accommodated and the person doesn’t object to such a move (MacLaggan, 6/23).

Georgia Health News: Transfers Of Disabled Patients Still A Problem
Almost 10 percent of the 480 people with developmental disabilities who have moved out of state hospitals since July 2010 have died after their placement in community residences. Chris Bailey, a spokesman with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, when asked about deaths after hospital transfers, told GHN that 44 occurred from mid-2010 to early May of this year.  On Sunday, Alan Judd, in an AJC article, described horrific incidents of abuse or neglect following the transfer of these patients into group homes. Forty patients placed in group homes have died, Judd reported, with 30 of those deaths classified as unexpected (Miller, 6/23).

The Associated Press: Wyoming Cuts Mean Less Care For Needy
The state is inadequately funding and managing one of Wyoming's main disability services programs, resulting in cuts in services and parents of mentally and physically disabled children left with feeling bullied, advocates for the disabled said Monday. The head of the state Department of Health, which administers the program, said the agency is trying to balance changes required by state and federal law as well as bring more disabled people into a program that costs $250 million over two years. Some 2,200 Wyoming residents with disabilities receive care through the Home and Community-Based Waivers program, which is administered as part of Medicaid. The program helps pay for services such as day programs and home-based assistance from mostly private contractors (6/24).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.