A senior sitting in a wheelchair
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The state of Colorado unnecessarily segregated nursing home residents with disabilities, which is prohibited under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead ruling, according to new findings from the Department of Justice.

The DOJ released its findings Thursday in a letter to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) following a multiyear investigation on the state’s long-term care system for adults with physical disabilities after receiving several complaints.

The report found that a significant number of the state’s Medicaid nursing home residents were interested in transitioning to community-based settings — and could successfully do so with the appropriate support — but few with physical disabilities were able to use that option. 

Findings also showed that the state relies on serrated nursing facilities to serve many adults with physical disabilities. 

The DOJ called on the state to make reasonable modifications to its long-term care system that would allow more residents with physical disabilities to live and receive services in the community. Those suggestions included providing information about community-based alternatives to nursing homes and increasing access to integrated community-based housing opportunities for residents with disabilities. 

“If the state declines to enter into voluntary compliance negotiations or if our negotiations are unsuccessful, the United States may take action, including initiating a lawsuit, to obtain redress for outstanding concerns associated with the State’s ADA compliance,” the DOJ wrote.