Nate Aalgaard, Executive Director

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Olmstead v. L.C. In the Olmstead case, brought by two individuals in Georgia who had been residing in a state-run institution, the Court held that the unjustified institutional isolation of people with disabilities is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the past 10 years, many individuals have successfully transitioned to community settings. We celebrate this decision as a defining moment in civil rights for people with disabilities. However, home and community based services are not mandated under Medicaid, and many individuals still go to live in institutions unnecessarily.

This past legislative session, home and community services were impacted by budgetary issues in both Minnesota and North Dakota. Minnesota’s program, while more comprehensive, faces pressures from budget cuts. North Dakota, on the other hand, made progress because of its better financial situation. Hours of service were increased, as were rates of reimbursement for home care providers.

Disability advocates around the country are pushing to create a national policy that mandates home and community based services, in addition to nursing facility care. We believe that we all have the right to choose where we live when it becomes necessary for us to receive long-term services and supports.