Justice Department Reaches Major Olmstead Settlement Agreement with North Dakota
(STL.News) The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with the State of North Dakota under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The agreement resolves complaints alleging that North Dakota unnecessarily institutionalizes individuals with disabilities in nursing facilities, instead of providing them the services they need to live in the community.
“Today’s settlement is a great victory for the people of North Dakota and its government. The settlement agreement will ensure that individuals with disabilities are no longer unnecessarily institutionalized in nursing facilities. Instead, these individuals will be able to choose to remain in their own home, near family and friends,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division. “We commend the State of North Dakota for making changes to its long-term care service system in a manner that will benefit both people with physical disabilities and their families, friends, and communities throughout the Peace Garden State. The settlement agreement is an important step towards inclusion, not just for the State, but as a model nationwide.”
“The settlement we reached ensures that thousands of North Dakotans with disabilities, including seniors, will have a meaningful choice for where they wish to live, including in their own private home,” said U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley for the District of North Dakota. “That is the sacred promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and I commend our state partners who joined my office and the Department of Justice in securing for North Dakotans the right to age in place for today and all the years to come.”
Under the agreement, North Dakota will expand services to individuals with physical disabilities in, or at risk of entering, a nursing facility to allow them to live in their homes. The state will provide these services to more than 2,500 people with disabilities, helping them to assess their options, decide where they would like to live, and arrange for community-based services. These services include assistance in finding accessible housing and home health aides to help with daily activities such as bathing and dressing. As part of the agreement, North Dakota will also increase access to community-service providers.
Enabling people in nursing facilities, who choose and are appropriate for community-based care, to transition to the community is especially urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic, given the high risk of virus transmission in congregate settings.
July 26, 2020, marked the 30th Anniversary of the ADA. The Justice Department plays a central role in advancing the nation’s goal of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.