(SEATTLE) Mississippi topped the ADAPT 2004 list of the
"Top Ten Worst States for Community Services", announced Monday at a morning press conference held on the
"Triangle" on Fifth Avenue between Olive and Stewart, in front of the Westin Hotel. The Westin is where the National Governors Association has been holding its summer meeting.
Mississippi's dubious honor of "First Worst" was the result of 87% of its long term care funding being spent on nursing homes and other institutions, while only 13% goes for community services. In addition, Mississippi is last among the states and the District of Columbia in community services for persons with developmental disabilities, and 47thin the nation on overall spending for community services.
Following #1 Mississippi were;
# 2 Nevada with the lowest spending per capita on all community services, and 67% of the long term care funds going to nursing homes and other institutions;
# 3 Louisiana with 81% of all long term care funds going to nursing homes and other institutions, and being 51st in Medicaid community spending behind the other states and the District of Columbia;
# 4 Tennessee, ranked 48 th on home care per capita spending, and 46 th in spending for people with physical disabilities;
# 5 Illinois with 80% of long term care funds going to nursing homes and other institutions, and a rank of 46 in overall per capita spending in the community, and a rank of 46 in community spending for persons with developmental disabilities;
# 6 Georgia with 79% of its long term care spending being on nursing homes and other institutions, and a rank of 48 in fiscal effort for all community services;
# 7 Alabama with 77% of its long term care funds going to nursing homes and other institutions, and a rank of 46 in fiscal effort for all community services;
# 8 New Jersey with a rank of 46 in spending on all community services, a rank of 50 in fiscal effort for community services for persons with developmental disabilities, and the 7 th highest spending per capita on nursing homes and other institutions, with 79% of the long term care funds going in that direction;
# 9 Florida with 74% of the long term care funds going to nursing homes and other institutions, and a rank of 43 in per capita spending for community services; and
# 10 District of Columbia where 90% of the long term care spending is on nursing homes and other institutions, and with the highest per capita spending on Intermediate Care Facilities for persons with Mental Retardation (ICFs-MR), and second highest per capita spending on nursing homes.
ADAPT's "Ten Worst" list is based on a combination of statistics the states report to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid which are then collated by the Medstat group; the 2004 National Study of Disability Finance from the University of Colorado Department of Psychiatry; and an informal survey of persons with disabilities, advocates and state personnel on their state's services. The rankings weighed the ratio of institutional spending to community spending, the per capita spending on nursing homes and community and ICFs-MR, and the overall spending on community long term care.
Members of #1 Mississippi's ADAPT chapter met with their Governor, Haley Barbour, offering to work with him to create a real home and community based services system in Mississippi so that their state
"wouldn't always be in the top ten worst." Gov. Barbour will be presented with the
"First Worst" wreath of lemons and dinosaurs once he returns to Mississippi. The Governors of the next nine states will receive visors with their state's picture, rank, the Governor's name, and a lemon and a dinosaur.
After the "Ten Worst" press conference, ADAPT marched to the regional Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office as a follow-up to the May 26 National Housing Justice Memorial Day (NHJMD). Before everyone had lined up in front of the building, HUD Regional Director John Myers was out on the street agreeing to fax the NHJMD demands to HUD Secretary Alphonzo Jackson.
The four demands are aimed at preventing any reduction in funding or the number of Section 8 vouchers available, keeping the Section 8 program in its current form with adequate funding, requiring impact studies for any proposed changes, and especially assuring input from the grassroots on any proposed changes.
"Our main objective here in Seattle was convincing the NGA to pass our resolution calling for long term care reform that allows people to choose to receive long term care services in their own home, said Beto Barrera of Chicago ADAPT and the Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing (DRACH). However, as we begin to free more people from institutional settings, they are going to need affordable accessible housing, and that's where HUD comes in."