Olmstead

What is Olmstead?

Two women living in a state hospital in the State of Georgia wanted to live in the community. They believed their lives would be better in the community and the treatment team agreed. They took their case all the way to the United States Supreme Court and the Supreme Court agreed. In June 1999 the Supreme Court issued its decision which has become known as the Olmstead

The Olmstead decision was primarily based on the non-discrimination mandate under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This includes a federal regulation that requires states to administer their programs, services and activities "in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities." "Most integrated setting" is a setting in the community where people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community life.

The Olmstead decision pertains to any person, regardless of age, who has a disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, such as mental illness, physical disability, developmental disability, and substance abuse.

Basically, all states must make community living options available to people with disabilities when three conditions exist. 1) When "the state's treating professionals have determined that a community placement is appropriate" for the person, 2) when "the transfer from an institution to a more integrated setting is not opposed by the affected individual", and 3) when "the placement can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the state and the needs of other person with disabilities". In other words, Olmstead is about choice. The goal of implementing the Olmstead ruling is that "no one should have to live in an institution or a nursing home if they can live in the community with the right support."

The Missouri Department of Mental Health supports consumer choice!

For more information go to http://www.bazelon.org/