Judge rules in favor of DRI in lawsuit by Ada County Coroner

Disability Rights Idaho received congratulations from the National Disability Rights Network in obtaining a strong opinion and court order from a U.S. District  Court requiring the Ada County Coroner’s office to release records to the P&A as part of an investigation into a suicide death at a psychiatric hospital.  To read the complete account of the case, please click here Coroner lawsuit

OPE Evaluated the Optum Medicaid Behavioral Health Contract, but Not the Outcomes for People with Mental Illness

Idaho’s Office of Performance Evaluation (OPE) just released its report on the Idaho Medicaid managed care contract with Optum Idaho, the Idaho Behavioral Health Plan. (to view full report click here). The report examines some important issues and makes some worthwhile points, but it completely fails to answer the questions that are most important to Idahoans with mental illness and their families. We were hoping that the report would focus on access to treatment and impact on the lives of Idahoans with mental illness, but these outcomes were not addressed. However, if you read carefully, the report contains some serious … Continue reading OPE Evaluated the Optum Medicaid Behavioral Health Contract, but Not the Outcomes for People with Mental Illness

Healthy Idaho Plan Position Paper

Idahoans with Disabilities in the Health Insurance Gap: The Healthy Idaho Plan Contrary to popular opinion, not all Idahoans with disabilities, living in poverty, are eligible for Medicaid, Medicare or any other health insurance program. Many low income Idahoans with serious disabilities fall into the health insurance gap (for information on the gap, http://closethegapidaho.org). Governor Otter’s work group on Medicaid Redesign* recommended that Idaho create our own solution to the health insurance gap by requesting a waiver of federal Medicaid rules. State and private stakeholders designed a plan which could solve the problem. It is called the “Healthy Idaho Plan”. … Continue reading Healthy Idaho Plan Position Paper

Idaho’s Mental Health System and the ADA “Integration Mandate”

DRI was asked to provide testimony to the Idaho Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concerning Idaho’s mental health system and compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Olmstead v. L.C. This is what I submitted. Testimony of DisAbility Rights Idaho.     Idaho’s mental health services system is broken. Mental health crisis calls are stretching our law enforcement and emergency responders to the breaking point. Admissions to the state psychiatric hospitals are increasing and the prisons and jails have more inmates with serious mental illness than our hospitals do. Last but not least untreated or inadequately … Continue reading Idaho’s Mental Health System and the ADA “Integration Mandate”

Psychosocial Rehabilitation and the Idaho Medicaid Managed Care Contract

Implementation of Idaho’s Medicaid Managed Mental Health Contract with Optum Health, Inc. has had a rocky start and has resulted in some major changes in the delivery of Medicaid covered mental health services in Idaho. There have been problems encountered by mental health service providers in processing and obtaining authorizations for services, but this article will not address those issues. I intend to focus on the problems being experienced by Idahoans with serious mental illness (SMI) and children with serious emotional disturbance (SED), in obtaining community based mental health services and supports. Most of the controversy revolves around authorization of Community Based … Continue reading Psychosocial Rehabilitation and the Idaho Medicaid Managed Care Contract

Idaho Medicaid Redesign and People with Disabilities: “Option 3.5”

The Governor’s Work Group on Medicaid Redesign made a new recommendation on November 14th, 2014 to support a “hybrid” version of Medicaid expansion. They called this recommendation “Option 3.5”. It provides Medicaid eligibility for qualifying families below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), and uses Medicaid funding to purchase coverage on the state insurance exchange for qualifying families between 100% and 138% of the FPL. Implementing this recommendation, or any other option for Medicaid expansion, will be of significant benefit to many Idahoans with disabilities. Contrary to popular opinion, not all Idahoans with disabilities, who are living in poverty, are eligible … Continue reading Idaho Medicaid Redesign and People with Disabilities: “Option 3.5”

DRI Comments on Home and Community Based Services Transition Plan

  Comments of DisAbility Rights Idaho Idaho Medicaid Transition Plan for Compliance with CMS/HCBS Community Integration Regulations     Introduction DisAbility Rights Idaho (DRI) is the Protection and Advocacy Agency for the State of Idaho under 42 USC §§ 15041-15045, 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 10801-10807, 10821-10827, and 29 USC § 794e. We are deeply concerned with the implementation of these Federal regulations and with the rights of people with disabilities generally. Insuring that Idahoans with disabilities have full access to their communities, and control over their lives and homes, is a high priority for DRI. We believe that the approach to … Continue reading DRI Comments on Home and Community Based Services Transition Plan

Tera’s Story

My name is Tera and I am very grateful that DisAbility Rights Idaho helped me become more independent.  I love my parents, but they were my guardians and made too many decisions for me.  Sometimes they did not let me go even though   the activity was supervised and safe.  I became angry and frustrated with this situation. Perhaps I needed a guardian when I was young but I have learned new skills and make better decisions now.  I lived in a certified family home for the last six years and had a good job.  I felt that I had  learned … Continue reading Tera’s Story

Matthew’s Story

I would like to express my appreciation to DisAbility Rights Idaho and especially Dina Flores-Brewer, for their assistance.  My foster child has significant social skills and behavioral problems dating to early childhood.  I allowed the school to enroll him in the EXCEL program, which was presented as an opportunity for the special attention on social skills he needed.  It was quickly apparent that my child’s problems were made worse by how he was treated instead of making them better.  Worse still, since he was segregated away from his peers for most of the day, without good role models, he was … Continue reading Matthew’s Story