ADA and Olmstead Resources
Background of Olmstead
Since July 1999, the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C. has increased community participation and independence of people with disabilities and older Americans who are moving out of nursing homes and other institutions and back into the community.
Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, two women with disabilities living in Georgia nursing homes, asked state officials to allow them to move into their own homes in the community. After the State refused, Atlanta Legal Aid attorney Susan Jamieson filed a lawsuit on their behalf. After appeals, the case was heard by the U. S. Supreme Court. In July 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits the unnecessary institutionalization of persons with disabilities. In the words of the Supreme Court, services to persons with disabilities must be provided “in the most integrated setting possible.” The Court ruled that there should be community options for Curtis and Wilson.
The following resources provide a historical context and an update on current implementation and activities that are underway to expand home and community options and make community living more accessible for individuals with disabilities.
Index of Resources
- Olmstead Decision Legal Analysis
- Olmstead Enforcement and Implementation
- What's New - Olmstead
- Olmstead Resources from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Olmstead Decision Legal Analysis
- Supreme Court Decision: Olmstead v. L.C.
- Atlanta Legal Aid Society Olmstead v. LC and EW Landmark Case Summary and Impact
- Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) Olmstead Fact Sheet
Olmstead Enforcement and Implementation
- Statement of the Department of Justice on Enforcement of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C.
This document outlines the Justice Department guidelines for enforcing the Olmstead decision under Title II of the ADA. (June 22, 2011)
- Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone
A Department of Justice website dedicated to the Olmstead Supreme Court decision.
- Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights
This agency investigates civil rights, health information privacy and patient safety confidentiality complaints to find out if there is discrimination or violation of the law and takes action to correct problems. It also educates communities about civil rights and health information privacy rights.
- Olmstead Success Stories
- Disability Integration Project at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.
This website was created to educate everyone about the Olmstead decision. It includes self-help tools and legal advocacy tools. It also shares how the decision has positively impacted people’s lives in their own words through stories, photos, and videos.
- UCP Report: The Case for Inclusion
This annual report by United Cerebral Palsy ranks all 50 States and the District of Columbia on how well they are providing community-based supports to Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities being served by Medicaid.
- Ten Years After Olmstead: Problems, Progress, and Opportunities for America's Older Adults [PDF, 36 pages]
This report from the National Senior Citizens Law Center, produced with support from The SCAN Foundation, calls on states to use the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to end Medicaid’s long-standing bias toward funding long-term care in institutional settings such as nursing homes. (September 2010)
- The Promise of Olmstead: 15 Years Later – Video
The 15th Anniversary of Olmstead video compilation is a DOJ/HHS tribute to the dedicated and brave individuals who have brought to life the Olmstead decision's promise of community integration for people with disabilities. This video is available with or without captions and audio description. (2014)
- Olmstead’s Role in Community Integration for People with Disabilities under Medicaid: 15 Years after the Supreme Court’s Olmstead Decision [PDF, 16 pages]
This legal brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation revisits the historic case and examines legal developments and policy trends that have emerged in recent years. (June 2014)
What's New - Olmstead
- DOJ Findings Letter to South Dakota
On May 2, 2016, the United States sent its findings to the state notifying it of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. due to its failure to deliver services to people with disabilities in the most integrated settings appropriate.
- United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.)
On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent.
- Lane v. Brown (formerly Lane v. Kitzhaber) – 12-CV-00138 – (D. Or. 2012)
On September 8, 2015, the United States entered into a settlement agreement with the State of Oregon to vindicate the civil rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are unnecessarily segregated in sheltered workshops, or at risk of such unnecessary segregation.
- Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support [Word, 21 pages] [PDF, 21 pages]
On July 15, 2015, the United States sent its findings to the State of Georgia stating that the State’s administration of the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) program violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by unnecessarily segregating students with disabilities from their peers in school. The State fails to ensure that students with behavior-related disabilities receive services and supports that could enable them to remain in, or return to, the most integrated educational placements appropriate to their needs.
- West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources [Word, 30 pages] [ PDF, 30 pages]
On June 1, 2015, the United States sent its findings to the state stating it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. by failing to deliver mental health services to children who rely on publicly funded care in the most integrated settings appropriate. Children in West Virginia experience high levels of institutionalization per capita and are unable to access mental health services in their homes and communities.
- Maertz v. Minott - 1:13-cv-957-JMS-MJD (S.D. In. 2015) [Word, 19 pages] [PDF, 19 pages]
On March 27, 2015, the United States filed a Statement of Interest in opposition to the State of Indiana’s argument that serious risk of institutionalization or segregation is not a viable claim under the ADA. In Maertz, Plaintiffs with developmental disabilities provided evidence that the State of Indiana harmed their health by drastically reducing their home and community-based Medicaid services, placing them at serious risk of institutionalization.
- Justice Department Reaches Proposed ADA Settlement Agreement On Oregon's Developmental Disabilities System]
September 8, 2015 - The U.S. Justice Department announced today, along with private plaintiffs, that it has entered into a proposed settlement agreement with the state of Oregon that will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and will impact approximately 7,000 Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who can and want to work in typical employment settings in the community.
Olmstead Resources from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
- Olmstead: Implementing the Integration Mandate
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law works to protect and advance the rights of adults and children who have mental disabilities.
- Still Waiting . . . the Unfulfilled Promise of Olmstead [PDF, 25 pages]
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law issued this report to inform advocates, policymakers and the public about the vital role the Supreme Court’s landmark decision plays in enabling people with mental illnesses to benefit from community life. According to the report, many people with mental illnesses remain segregated in board-and-care homes, nursing facilities and other institutions even though supportive community living is cost-effective. (August 2009)
- When Opportunity Knocks... How the Affordable Care Act Can Help States Develop Supported Housing for People with Mental Illnesses [PDF, 21 pages] (April 2014)
- A Place of My Own: How the ADA is Creating Integrated Housing Opportunities for People with Mental Illnesses [PDF, 27 pages] (March 2014)
- Disability Community Unveils Key Principles of Community Integration
A Bazelon Center press release (July 31, 2013)
- Key Principles of Community Integration [PDF, 2 pages]
A list of statements about the disability community’s shared vision of what community integration should be. (July 2013)
- Making Your Life Your Own: Olmstead Brochure
Questions and answers about the impact of the Olmstead decision on the rights of those with mental illnesses. (June 2011)
- Making Your Life Your Own: Olmstead Brochure [Foldable format - PDF, 2 pages]
- Making Your Life Your Own: Olmstead Brochure [White Paper Format - PDF, 3 pages]
- Making Your Life Your Own: Olmstead Brochure [Foldable format - PDF, 2 pages]