Update on Samantha R. Case
On November 2, 2022, the Court in Samantha R. issued an Order requiring the state to meet benchmarks toward serving people with I/DD. The benchmarks include: eliminating the Innovations Waiver waiting list over the next 10 years; serving those who want to move to community settings (or to avoid institutionalization) over the next 8 years; and addressing the Direct Support Provider (DSP) shortage.
The state has appealed and asked to delay these requirements. A hearing on the appeal is set for February 3, 2023. The appeal itself will take at least a year.
To support its decision to appeal, the state created fear among families with loved ones in Intermediate Care Facilities, generating concerns that one part of the Order would lead to rapid ICF closures and homelessness. While rejecting this false narrative but hoping to address these fears and move forward with the bigger plan, DRNC proposed to jointly request changes to that part of the Order. The state refused.
DRNC has tried for years to engage DHHS about failures in the I/DD system. Immediately after disappointing thousands of people by announcing it would appeal, the state released a new plan it claims it will follow. The state’s new plan includes: requesting some (but not enough) Innovations slots; downsizing 3 very large ICFs; conducting in-reach to adult care homes (but not ICFs), and tracking data about the DSP shortage. It makes no mention of supporting people to transition out of facilities into the community and lacks any accountability measures. This watered-down response does too little for people with IDD. The judge gave the state nearly three years to submit a remedy, and the state did not offer a plan. This latest announcement does not meet the needs of the I/DD community.
DRNC knows the continued pressure of the litigation and community support for accountability have pushed the state to promise to take some action – though nowhere near enough. DRNC welcomes the limited steps the state has proposed even as we keep up our efforts for comprehensive reform. We invite you to join us in keeping the state focused on the unmet needs of the I/DD community.