[SIGN ON] Response to the White House’s Missed Opportunity to Prioritize HCBS

On February 28, 2022, The Biden Administration released their FACT SHEET: Protecting Seniors and People with Disabilities by Improving Safety and Quality of Care in the Nation's Nursing Homes, which prioritizes institutional living over Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). The document discusses at length the fact nursing homes are dangerous places, but aims to justify institutionalization as acceptable if only they were less dangerous.

In reality, institutionalization in nursing homes represents one of the highest levels of deprivation of liberty exerted in our nation. Two years ago, COVID-19 hit the United States, starting with a Kirkland nursing facility in Washington that topped the daily headlines. "In the past two years, more than 200,000 [people consigned ] and staff in nursing [facilities] have died from COVID-19 — nearly a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States."

Under the 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead decision, people with disabilities have the right to services in the setting most appropriate to meet their needs. Any policy, systems, environmental or programmatic changes regarding people with disabilities, including older adults, must embrace the fundamental liberties guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the Olmstead decision. Olmstead upheld that people with disabilities have the right to receive services in the setting most appropriate to their needs.

This fact sheet flies in the face of the Olmstead decision and the protections of the ADA. After two horrific years in which nursing facilities were the epicenter of the pandemic, we cannot support making nursing institutions “great again.”

This fact sheet and its outline to "make facilities better" does not resonate with the Disability Community; rather, it outrages us. Although there is a need for monitoring and enforcement, the Administration has missed the mark entirely on what Disabled and older adults stuck in institutions really want, which is freedom in the community with adequate services and supports to maintain and sustain independence. It erases the work of community living organizations and activists that sought solutions, such as nursing home relocation and transition services, for decades.

This plan highlights one thing that does resonate with us, which is that the Administration, government, and the healthcare system continue to demonstrate that they will always care more about profit and money than they do about the people, and more specifically, than they do about Disabled people.

For months, President Biden and members of Congress prioritized a major expansion of HCBS in the Build Back Better bill. The fact sheet makes it clear that the Administration has abandoned this priority. Instead, the Administration is actively contributing to the profit-driven narrative that these dangerous, isolating, and undesirable places can be made less perilous.

We urge the Administration to recommit to their promises to the Disability Community by investing in HCBS and in resources and supports that people with disabilities need to live in the community. The Administration’s commitment to equity can only be fulfilled when it includes unwavering enforcement of the civil rights of people with disabilities.



Alexa Mavroidis
Barbara M Pritchard
Billy Altom
C. Jean Grover
Cara Liebowitz
Carly Pacheco
Carol Moss
Center for Independent Living Gulf Coast
Denise Figueroa
Diane Puchta
Don Albrecht
Donnell Kenworthy
Edward Arnold
Eileen Healy
Faustino Alvarez
Gabrielle Hass
Gulf Coast ADAPT
Heather Townsend
Horacio Esparza
Ian Engle
Ian Ruder
Janetta W. Green
Janine Bertram
Jenni Gold
Joan Edwards
john alder
John Kerr
Judith Grophear
Judy Telge
June Kailes, Disability Policy Consulting
Karen M. Clay
Karen Nelson
Karin Korb
Kate Blaker
Kathy Hoell
Kathy Powers
Keith Grover
Kira Meskin, OTD, OTR/L, CAPS, ECHM
Kristina Reis
Kristine A. Mulhorn
LaKenya Pitchford
Larry Grable
Lynette S Perez
M Horowitz
Manuel A. Gonzalez
Marc Fliedner
Marcie Roth
Maria Rojas
Mary Margaret Moore
Matthew Purinton
Michael Conroy, Esq.
Millie Gonzalez
Miri Majec
Misty Dion
Nicholas Elizabeth Faby
Nora Handler
Norman A. Smith
Pam Auer
Priscilla Garces
Ramu Kaladi
Rebecca Coombs
Rev. Maggie Shreve
Rhoda Gibson
Rhychell Barnes
Ruthie Poole
Samantha Moreno
Sara Willig
Sarah Smith
Scott Hilliard
Stephanie Birmingham
Steven E. Brown
Tamrah Jordan
Tania Malven
Therese E. Brzezinski
Tom Olin
Travis Taylor
Zan Thornton/ Rev. Butch Brosman co-dir


Able South Carolina
ADAPT National
Alleghenies Unlimited Care Providers (AUCP)
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living
Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network
California Disaster Coalition
Center for Independent Living Gulf Coast
Center for Independent Living of Central Pennsylvania
Center For Independent Living: Gulf Coast
Central PA ADAPT
Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living
Community Access Center
Council For Relationships
Democratic Disability Caucus of Florida
Disability Rights New York
Fabulous Flamingo
FREED Center for Independent Living
Gulf Coast ADAPT
Independence Northwest, Inc.
Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, Inc.
Long Island Center for Independent Living
Long Island Center for Independent Living, Inc. (LICIL)
MindFreedom International
New Jersey Disability Collective
NJ Statewide Independent Living Council
NorthWest Colorado Center for Independence
Progress Center
Progress Center for Independent Living
Red Cross
Roads to Freedom CIL
Service Center for Independent Life
SILVER - a national collaboration to Save Institutional Lives Via Emergency Relocation
Summit Independent Living
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
Travis Taylor
Washington ADAPT
World Institute on Disability

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