One out of every five residents in Colorado nursing homes wants out, an analysis of state and federal records shows.
But a shortage of places for the disabled to live outside a nursing home and regulations that critics say make it hard to qualify for home services mean many who want out continue to receive expensive nursing care.
"Long-term care in general is costing the state more and more each year, just as more people need long-term care services and the cost of care continues to increase," said Tim Cortez, who was hired by the state in June to reform long-term care with the goals of serving more people and saving money.
In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court said people who can live independently have that right. But Colorado doesn't have the resources or infrastructure to assist all the people who want out.
Many are people like Cliff Seigneur.
Seigneur was an assistant state attorney general, but his multiple sclerosis eventually made it impossible for him to work. He wound up in a Denver nursing home at age 48.
"I don't want to be brought out of this place in a body bag," Seigneur said.
Defending Our Freedom is a three-prong national campaign to organize the disability community to:
• Demand that the Obama administration fulfill its duty to aggressively protect the civil rights of disabled Americans and enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act/Olmstead decision;
• File complaints with the Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice that document the violation of rights of individuals who have been forced into institutional settings, denied community services, or have had their community services reduced as well as complaints that document the state policies and budget cuts that violate our rights;
• Document the disability community’s efforts to fight back against state cuts so that we can learn from each other’s efforts, rally others to join our fight, and hold public officials accountable when they do not support our freedom.
This site is organized by the national disability rights grassroots community ADAPT. For more information about ADAPT, please visit www.adapt.org. To submit photos (jpegs please!) and stories about your activism, please e-mail ADAPT at email@example.com. Anyone is welcome to submit material. Please limit your submissions to 250 words or less.