© 2021 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Government & Politics

State Settles Lawsuit With Disability Rights Group Over 'Needlessly Institutionalized' Patients

Disability Rights Ohio Executive Director Michael Kirkman announces the lawsuit against the state back in 2016.
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
In March 2016, Disability Rights Ohio Executive Director Michael Kirkman announces the lawsuit against the state. He was joined by some of those who were part of the lawsuit, including Caryl Mason, in purple, next to her sister, Cathy Mason-Jordan.

A disability rights group has settled the class action lawsuit it filed against the state of Ohio four years ago over its claims that people are being needlessly institutionalized in state and private run facilities.  

The settlement expands access to 700 state-funded waivers that allow people with disabilities and their families to choose to receive services in the community or in institutions. Disability Rights Ohio filed the suit in federal court in 2016. Its executive director Michael Kirkman says this affects the six original plaintiffs, and since it’s a class action, there are potentially 3,000 more.

“These folks are generally very pleased because they have been expressing a desire to move to the community for some time and have not been able to get services.”

The state will spend $24 million in the next year on housing assistance, and the settlement also expands employment and day services. The Department of Developmental Disabilities said in a statement the settlement is “fair and reasonable”.