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COVID Deaths in Nursing Homes
As of February 4th, COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes were reported over 161,000. This is an increase of 8,774 over the number a week earlier on January 28th. That means, someone in a nursing home or other institution dies from COVID at least every 69 seconds.
If these facilities were on fire, the first thing we would do is evacuate the residents. CIL’s across the country have been fighting to provide these individuals an opportunity to leave the institutions. And the Olmstead decision is not enough to get these people out in the middle of a pandemic.
Which is why the Disability Integration Act (DIA) was created.
Section 4(b)(7) of the bill states that “discrimination by a public entity or LTSS insurance provider includes… a failure to provide community-based services and supports, on an intermittent, short-term, or emergent basis, that assist an individual with an LTSS disability to live in the community and lead an independent life.” DIA is trying to address how state policies and systems fail to meet the needs of people with mental health diagnoses and are in crisis or are periodically institutionalized because they cannot get on-going services and supports they need to be independent.
Instead, if DIA were law, elderly and people with disabilities would be able to get services supports they need to leave the institutions and that would save lives.
Currently, people with disabilities can be forced into institutions because of capping the hours or dollars available to serve an individual, limiting eligibility for services because of age limits or “wrong” diagnosis, and restricting wages so the pay is inadequate to recruit and retain workers.
It doesn’t need to be like this. CIL’s and other agencies who offer in-home services have demonstrated that people with disabilities can successfully live independent, productive and integrated lives in the community. They just need access to the services and supports to help them be successful. Advocate to your U.S. legislators that we need the DIA. You can call the U.S. Capitol at 202-224-3121.