Olmstead and Bureaucracies

One of the realities of Olmstead advocacy is dealing with different agencies who pass the buck to each other. Olmstead is about providing accommodations to people with disabilities but when different agencies are involved they often put up obstacles or send the person with a disability on a chase to find who is responsible to provide necessary supports and services.

A Georgia woman who has two children with intellectual disabilities recently experienced this when her two children with intellectual disabilities received termination notices from their Medicaid Waiver program. The two children qualified for a Medicaid Waiver but were in a Medicaid Waiver for individuals with physical disabiliities. The agency terminated the children because they did not qualify for that Medicaid Waiver despite the fact that it had been providing the Waiver to them for years. It stated that it had to terminate them because the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services required the termination since it was the wrong waiver. There is a Medicaid Waiver that the children qualify for but it is run by a different Georgia agency and has a 7000 person waiting list. Rather than assist the children to receive the other Waiver, the original agency just terminated the children. Fortunately, there is a lawyer involved and this matter may be resolved favorably. But this happens over and over again to people who may not have such representation.

Olmstead requires that agencies provide accommodations and assist families when issues arise rather than obstacles and roadblocks that leave families and individuals with disabilities in the cold.

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