Lawsuit settlement would transition disabled and elderly nursing home residents into community settings

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A proposed settlement in a class action lawsuit could help low-income people with disabilities avoid nursing homes while saving the state money, the Chicago Tribune reported.

In 2005, elderly and disabled rights activists filed three linked lawsuits saying that the state must follow a 1999 Supreme Court decision known as Olmstead, the Chicago Tribune reported. This decision says that government agencies must place people with disabilities in the least restrictive setting while still meeting their needs. Under the proposed settlement – which is still subject to a “fairness hearing” – residents of Cook County nursing homes could live in subsidized apartments instead.

The plan is seen as a win for both sides. Advocates say it would give disabled people more independence, and possibly better care. The state would be able to recoup some of its Medicaid money, as community living is less costly for these individuals than nursing home care.

If approved, the settlement would gradually shift 1,100 nursing home residents in Cook County into apartments and group homes over a 30-month period, the paper reports.
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