(SEATTLE) When the National Governors Association (NGA) holds its annual meeting in Seattle, July 17-19, ADAPT, the nations largest grassroots disability rights organization, will be there to challenge the governors on the issue of long term care.
"Over two million people of all ages with physical, mental, sensory and cognitive disabilities are warehoused in nursing homes and other institutions due only to the lack of home and community services in their state", said Bob Kafka, National ADAPT Organizer. "We want the NGA to vote on and pass a resolution calling for reform of the current institutionally biased Medicaid long term care system, and indicating their support for legislation promoting community based services."
ADAPT supporters from all over the country contacted their respective governors last week asking them to sponsor and vote in support of the resolution. Along with Medicaid reform, the resolution calls for the NGA to work with the states to implement the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead vs. L.C. and E.W. which calls for states to move people out of, and divert people from admission to, nursing homes and other institutions so they can live in their own homes and communities with the support they need. It also calls on the NGA to support Medicaid reform that is not based on block grants and capitation of funding.
"We were very surprised to learn that even before we arrived in Seattle, the NGA sent out a statement about us that not only bears little resemblance to the truth, but actually seeks to undermine our right to freedom of speech", said Barbara Toomer, ADAPT Utah State Organizer. "In an effort to discourage the press and media from covering us, they wrote that we are much more interested in generating media attention than talking about the issues. For years, thats all weve asked for- a real meeting with the NGA Executive Committee to discuss how we can support each other in accomplishing an end to the institutional bias in Medicaid."
On Saturday, July 16, ADAPT members and supporters from over 30 states and the District of Columbia will march to Victor Steinbrueck Park for a rally to kick-off their week in Seattle with the NGA. On Monday, July 19, ADAPT will publicly announce the Ten Worst States for Community Services, based on information the states report to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that is then collated in a report for CMS by the Medstat Group, Inc.
"Do we want media attention?" added Steve Verriden, Wisconsin ADAPT State Organizer. "Of course we do. We are, and we represent, Americas poorest and most vulnerable citizens. We don't have powerful positions to influence the policymakers, and we certainly don't have the $10,000 to $150,000 that corporations pay to gain entrance to the NGA meetings, where they can hob-nob with the governors over cocktails and fancy dinners. All we have to get our issues before the public and the policymakers is our ability to be newsworthy and articulate our belief that no American should be forced into a nursing home against their will simply because Medicaid in their state won't pay for the same services in their own home."
The Resolution [ html ] [ pdf