Lawsuit against DHS
In April 2017, we filed suit against the Department of Human Services after the agency implemented across-the-board cuts to in-home care services for adults and children with developmental disabilities. For some people these cuts eliminated hundreds of hours of critical supports per month.
Several days later, DHS and DRO agreed to a temporary freeze to ongoing cuts to in-home care services. We began the process creating a long-term plan for assessing needs and providing fair notice to people with disabilities of changes to their services.
— DHS is developing a new assessment tool – called the Oregon Needs Assessment (ONA). Initial testing and validation of the tool was completed in June 2017. Early next year, DHS will work with a consultant to review the reliability of the new tool.
— Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) is working with DHS to develop service level groups and hours allotments for the new tool.
We continue to discuss the exceptions process and criteria for granting exceptions with DHS.
— The preliminary injunction, which froze cuts to in-home care services, remains in effect. In-home service hours cannot be reduced at this time.
The parties will update the Court again by June 5, 2018.
Joint Status Report (December 5, 2017).
Court Orders a Stay of Lawsuit
Disability Rights Oregon and the Oregon Department of Human Services requested a six-month stay of the lawsuit, which means the lawsuit will be on hold while DHS works on improving the tool. The U.S. District Court has ordered that the stay will remain in place for another six months. The parties will update the court by December 5, 2017. The preliminary injunction, which freezes support hours cuts, remains in place as well. (June 12, 2017)
On April 19, 2017, Disability Rights Oregon and the Oregon Department of Human Services agreed to a temporary freeze to ongoing cuts to in-home care services, while the parties try to create a long-term plan for assessing needs and providing fair notice to people with disabilities of changes to their services.
This order is not a final fix, but it will allow services to remain in place as the case continues.A group of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS). They claim that the state agency arbitrarily cut the number of in-home care hours that they rely on to meet their basic medical and social needs.
In-Home Care Services
People with disabilities who have substantial needs can receive in-home care assistance from personal services workers for a wide array of activities of daily living, including help with eating, food preparation, toileting, communication, behavioral assistance, medication administration, and bathing.
Nearly 8,000 adults and more than 3,000 children in Oregon accessed in-home care services between 2015 and 2017. The services are primarily funded by federal Medicaid dollars through Oregon’s Office of Developmental Disabilities, a division of DHS, and its contractors.
DHS’s Arbitrary Cuts
Last September, without explanation, DHS implemented across-the-board reductions to in-home care services, eliminating hundreds of hours of critical supports.
On April 10, Disability Rights Oregon filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court. We argued, on behalf of our clients, that the benefit cuts conflict with a fundamental principle of the Americans with Disabilities Act: People with disabilities who can live in and mix with the community should not be not unnecessarily isolated.
The plaintiffs are asking the federal court to direct DHS to restore previous in-home care hours, change their assessment tool, and alter the process for providing notice of benefit changes to people with disabilities and their families. Plaintiffs also want DHS make the appeals process more meaningful.
The plaintiffs, several adults and one child, reside in Clackamas County, Harney County, Douglas County, and East Portland. These far-reaching cuts impact nearly every person in Oregon with intellectual or developmental disabilities who rely on in-home care.
FAQ: Preliminary injunction
Order for preliminary injunction-April 19 2017
Motion for preliminary injunction
Release-People with developmental disabilities win temporary freeze to service cuts