News

Judge halts DHS cuts to in-home care for disabled Oregonians

Injunction granted pending resolution of lawsuit

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Department of Human Services has temporarily halted cuts to in-home care services for people living with disabilities.

Disability Rights Oregon, a Portland-based nonprofit, last week filed a federal lawsuit against DHS, alleging it violated disability laws by cutting assistance for in-home services. The services, which include help with cooking, bathing and taking medication, are primarily funded with federal Medicaid dollars.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane on Wednesday granted the disability-rights group's request for a preliminary injunction. People whose service hours were cut will see them revert back to their previous level while the parties in the lawsuit try to devise a long-term plan.

Disability Rights Oregon said in a statement the order is not a final fix, but will allow services to remain in place as the case continues.

The group says roughly 11,000 Oregon residents relied on in-home care services between 2015 and 2017.

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News release from Disability Rights Oregon:

People with Developmental Disabilities Win Temporary Freeze to Service Cuts
 
Portland, Oregon — Today, Disability Rights Oregon and the Oregon Department of Human Services agreed to a temporary freeze to ongoing cuts to in-home care services, while the parties try to create a long-term plan for assessing needs and providing fair notice to people with disabilities of changes to their services.
 
This temporary halt will benefit thousands of people with disabilities across the state. This order is not a final fix, but
it will allow services to remain in place as the case continues.
 
Judge Michael J. McShane of the U.S. District Court of Oregon in Eugene entered an order today granting a
preliminary injunction. Though the case only named five individuals, the order covers everyone who receives
in-home care services through the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services.
 
“This order is a positive first step toward ensuring that people with disabilities are able to live in the community
where they want to be,” said Tom Stenson, litigation attorney with Disability Rights Oregon. “We’re hopeful that
we can work with DHS to build on this initial progress toward fixing how they determine home care benefits.
Home care services make it possible for thousands of Oregonians with disabilities to live in the community with
their loved ones. Our goal is to ensure that those people receive the supports they need.”
 
Anyone with who has already seen their services reduced will have the prior level of service restored. Anyone
with a pending order cutting services will have that order rescinded. Anyone facing an upcoming evaluation
may see their services remain the same or increase, but their service level will not drop below its prior level.
 
The parties will try to find a long-term fix that allows people to remain in their homes and protects their rights to
fair notice and due process.
 
If you are affected by these changes, you do not need to sign up to participate in the lawsuit. These changes
will benefit people around the state. If you would like more information, please visit droregon.org to review
updates about the case.
 
About Disability Rights Oregon
Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) has served as Oregon’s Protection & Advocacy System for 40 years,
upholding the legal rights of people with disabilities. A statewide non-profit organization based in
Portland, DRO’s mission is to promote and defend the rights of individuals with disabilities, including the
rights of people with disabilities in jails and prisons. The organization envisions a society in which persons with disabilities have equality of opportunity, full participation and the ability to exercise meaningful choice.  
 

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