Oregon Disability History: 20 Years Ago Today, the Staley Lawsuit Was Filed

Imagine a time when there were no supports for Oregonians with developmental disabilities living on their own or with their families. A time where there were extensive wait lists for group or foster care homes. A time when a family had to be in crisis in order to receive supports. A time when some people waited over a decade to receive any services at all.

Rewind two decades and you’re there.

Twenty years ago today, history was made and the face of disability services in Oregon was fundamentally changed.

The families of five Oregonians with developmental disabilities filed suit against the state of Oregon on January 14th, 2000. The lawsuit alleged that Oregon failed to offer services to adults with disabilities in the most integrated possible setting and failed to offer services with reasonable promptness. Staley v. Kitzhaber became a class action, representing thousands of people statewide. The suit opened new doors to Oregonians with disabilities, ultimately paving the way for the development of progressive support services brokerages. The suit was filed just one month before the closure of Oregon’s state institution Fairview Training Center, and a settlement was reached in September of 2000. Implementation of the settlement agreement began on July 1st, 2001.

Beyond creating in-home brokerage supports, the agreement pressed for a significant reduction of the number of people waiting for non-crisis out-of-home options through an expansion of comprehensive services for up to 300 eligible individuals statewide.

Hats off to the self-advocates, families, community members, and policymakers who had the determination, strength, and tenacity to press for historic change in the lives of Oregonians with disabilities. What an extraordinary group of visionaries!

Throughout 2020, we will celebrate and illuminate key milestones in Oregon’s disability history. In celebration of the 20 year anniversary of the Staley filing, check out this article by Bill Lynch, then-director of the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Council (now known as OCDD). Lynch’s piece, Waitlist Families Sue State was printed in the April 2000 edition of The Clarion.

Waitlist Families Sue State

By Bill Lynch of The Oregon Developmental Disabilities Council

The lawsuit alleges that the State of Oregon failed to provide services in the most integrated possible setting to adults with mental retardation and/or developmental disabilities eligible for placement in an ICF/MR (intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded) and that individuals with developmental disabilities are entitled to receive Medicaid-Funded services with reasonable promptness. The Oregon Advocacy Center (editor’s note: now Disability Rights Oregon), Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the law firm of Garvey Schubert & Barer represent the plaintiffs, including five individually named persons with disabilities and The Arc of Oregon.

In a bold move designed to get sorely needed publicly­ funded services, families of  five Oregonians on wait lists for developmental disability services filed suit against the state. Legal assistance to the families is being provided by the Oregon Advocacy Center (OAC), Aid Services of Oregon, and the law firm Garvey, Schubert & Barer. The suit is based on federal Medicaid law which requires that Medicaid eligible individuals with developmental disabilities receive services within a reasonable period of time. The suit further states that the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires services to be provided in the most integrated setting.

Four of the families need residential placements for their sons and daughters who require round-the-clock care. These individuals are receiving minimal or no services. Their parents are aging and have various health problems that limit their ability to continue providing 24-hour care.

Jim Staley, one of the plaintiffs, has been waiting for services for 15 years. He has severe mental retardation and health problems. Jim is non-verbal and needs assistance in most tasks of daily living. His mother, Karen Staley, feels a sense of urgency to get him into a residential program. “We are both retired and we want to be here to see Jim transition and support the changes in his life instead of him having to deal with the crisis of our death and changes that would be forced upon him then.”

Diann Drummond needs intensive supports so she can continue to care for her daughter, Molly, also a litigant in the suit. Drummond, who is a single parent, would like to keep Molly at home as ong as possible. Molly is non-verbal and has no self care skills. Currently, Drummond is having to bear the cost for in-home respite care and a full day program in the community. After the suit was filed, state officials agreed to enter into settlement talks. The suit was put on hold for 45 days while the parties meet to negotiate an agreement. If a settlement  cannot be reached, the litigants will continue forward with the lawsuit.

Photo Description: Lawsuit families make statements at a news conference. From left around table, litigant Helen Healy and her mother Susan Schrepping, litigant John Duffield, litigant Molly Drummond and her mother Diann Drummond, Michael Bailey, Brena Flota (her daughter Brandie Evans behind her is a litigant), Karen Staley and litigant Jim Staley.

Personal Support Workers: Updated Incident Reporting Responsibilities

There are some rule changes effective November 1, 2019 that impact Personal Support Workers (PSWs).  PSWs statewide received the following information from the State of Oregon in October 2019.

Effective November 1, 2019, Personal Support Workers must report serious incidents to a supported person’s case manager (Services Coordinator or Personal Agent) immediately, but no later than one business day after an incident happens.

What kinds of things are PSWs required to report?

  • Serious illness that will result in hospitalization, bodily injury, or death without treatment.
  • Serious injury that risks a person’s life or permanent injury without treatment.
  • Physical aggression resulting in injury to the person, PSW, or others.
  • Person receives emergency medical care.
  • Person is missing beyond the time frame established in their ISP.
  • Person is admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
  • Person attempts suicide.
  • Person has an unplanned hospitalization.
  • A medication error that results in harm or puts the person’s health and safety at risk.
  • A safeguarding intervention or the use of safeguarding equipment included in a Positive Behavior Support Plan results in injury.
  • The use of a physical restraint that is not included in a Positive Behavior Support Plan.
  • Death

What must be included in the report?

  • Name of the person
  • Date, time, duration, type, and location of the incident
  • What happened before, or leading up to, the incident
  • Detailed description of the incident, including what you did
  • Description of injury, if injury occurred
  • Name of the PSW and any other witnesses to the incident
  • Actions by the PSW or others to keep the incident from happening again

Where can I get more information?
ODDS has created a training for PSWs and other providers to learn about their responsibilities to report incidents. See more information in this transmittal: APD-IM-19-068: Provider and Partners CAM training in iLearn.

 

 

VIDEO: Am I Eligible for Brokerage Services?

Check out this excerpt from our upcoming online version of our popular Brokerage 101 presentation: “Am I Eligible for Brokerage Services in Oregon?”

This short video explains how a person becomes eligible for brokerage services, with a brief explanation of the difference between an intellectual and developmental disability diagnosis. You’ll learn more about Portland metro area brokerages and how to get connected.

Please visit www.mybrokeragemychoice.org for more information.

 

 

VIDEO: What is a Brokerage Personal Agent?

Check out this excerpt from our upcoming online version of our popular Brokerage 101 informational presentation. This module is: “What Is a Personal Agent?”

A Personal Agent’s job is to connect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with resources in the community, both paid and unpaid.

There are four primary roles of the personal agent. A PA is a navigator, so your primary link to accessing and understanding resources and services. An additional role that we play is as an advocate. So we’re support that you can rely on when you need help with others. Brokerages across the state require all of our Personal Agents to show up to every IEP meeting that they’re invited to. We have long-standing local area agreements with Vocational Rehabilitation offices to ensure a smoother set of services for you and your family.

Another essential role Personal Agents play is that of Connector. If you’re looking for a particular resource, you should give us a call and we’ll see if we know about it. One key facet of our design is that we support people with getting connected with providers. That might mean sharing resumes and information on Personal Support Workers or taking tours of provider agencies in your area. It could mean helping you interview potential supports or sharing brochures, links, and information on organizations that we believe would be potential fit. We’re told by customers that this is really is a key piece of the services that we offer.

And then, finally, there is the formal Medicaid-funded role of Case Manager. That’s where the paperwork comes in. We’re here to make sure that any of the services that are being paid for through your plan follow state and federal guidelines.

Stay tuned for additional videos on brokerage services!