Washington, D.C., Jan. 16 -- Today shortly after noon, Capital Area ADAPT activists moved to occupy the offices of the D.C. Department of Health at 825 North Capitol Street. The group, whose members in the action included wheelchair users and nursing home residents, said they had to "resort to civil disobedience because the DC government is all talk and no action."
The group said it was targeting the DC Department of Health "because one-third of the District's nursing home residents are under 65 years old -- which ADAPT says is "three times the national average."
"They have programs and services for those who are over 65 but none for younger people," said ADAPT in a statement. "With its callous disregard of the rights of people with disabilities to choose to live in the community or most integrated setting, D.C. is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the Olmstead decision."
The group says it has tried to work with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and with Dr. Ivan Walks of the Department of Health. "They give us the bureaucratic runaround, do nothing and in the meantime each month more of our people are subjected to lives of quiet desperation in nursing homes and institutions," said ," ADAPT chair Robert Coward.
Capital Area ADAPT's list of demands includes:
That the District government, through its Medicaid department, develop and implement an Olmstead plan to provide community-based services under the Medicaid program, as required by federal law.
"The District leaves us no other choice but to take this action and call attention to this crisis and D.C.ís flagrant and uncaring disregard of federal law," said Coward.
That D.C. send an immediate letter of intent to the Health Care Financing Administration and request expansion of the Medicaid waiver to include the under age 65 population.
That D.C. commit funds in the 2001 budget for community-based services for the population of people with disabilities who are under 65.
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