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DODD Issues Statement on Revised Lawsuit Settlement Agreement

Ball v. Kasich Revised Settlement

Background

In 2016, Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) filed a class-action lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) with claims that more than 27,000 Ohioans with developmental disabilities were being forced to live and receive services in intermediate care facilities (ICFs) or were “at serious risk of institutionalization” despite preferences to live in the community and receive services via a waiver. This lawsuit created fears that ICFs were being targeted for closure. A year later, the court permitted a group of guardians with family members living in ICFs to intervene in the lawsuit.  In 2018, the guardian intervenors filed claims against DODD maintaining that DODD was “phasing out and defunding” the ICF program.

Through the court process, DODD was successfully able to narrow the class members to include only those people who, after being informed about both ICF and waiver service options, requested to receive waiver services. Over the past four years, 700 residents of ICFs who requested a waiver have been enrolled on the Individual Options Waiver. The class currently consists of approximately 200 people who have requested and are waiting to be enrolled on a waiver.

DODD has worked for more than four years to resolve the claims and end the lawsuits brought by two groups with very different opinions on how Ohio’s developmental disabilities system is and should be structured. Ultimately, negotiations resulted in an agreement between DODD and DRO. An agreement was unable to be reached with the guardian intervenors. Therefore, because an agreement could not be reached with that group, the initial settlement agreement sent to the judge for approval only addressed DRO’s claims regarding the much smaller class.

Revised Settlement

January 10, 2020, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) filed a revised settlement agreement responding to the judge’s request to consider a couple of modifications to the proposed settlement agreement. The revised settlement agreement, with court approval, would bring a conclusion to the lawsuit with DRO.

DODD believes people with developmental disabilities and their families or guardians should have a choice to either receive services in an ICF or through a waiver and that this choice should be honored and respected. 

The revised settlement reaffirms that nothing in this agreement is intended to force someone to give up ICF services, and nothing is intended to remove the ICF option in the future.

Moving Choice Forward

While negotiating settlement with DRO, DODD was collaborating with the ICF provider community to develop a new reimbursement formula for ICFs. This new reimbursement formula was introduced in State Fiscal Year 2019 and has resulted in an 18% increase in ICF reimbursement through State Fiscal Year 2020. The state budget investment is just one example of this administration’s effort to support ICFs.

DODD’s commitment to continue to provide a choice of both the ICF option and waiver option is reaffirmed in the revised agreement. The agreement maintains and expands existing initiatives and provides waiver funding without harming the ICF program, ICF funding, or a family’s right to choose an ICF for their loved one.