Mr. Alexander, is partially paralyzed as the result of a back surgery. He cannot bathe, use the bathroom, clean, cook, drive, or maneuver himself in and out of his wheelchair on his own. He lives with his 92 year old mother, who does her best to care for him. He would prefer to remain at home and not have to move into a nursing facility, but he may be forced to because he is one of thousands of people on Florida’s waiting list for home and community based services. Justice in Aging, with pro bono partner Cozen O’Connor, along with Southern Legal Counsel, Disability Rights Florida, and attorney Nancy Wright filed a class action lawsuit against the state of Florida, asserting that the state’s long-term care system violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by perpetuating the institutionalization and segregation of older adults and people with disabilities.
Florida’s Long-Term Care Medicaid Waiver program provides in-home services and supports for frail older adults and persons with disabilities. Many of these Floridians prefer to remain at home and in their communities and receive help at home with daily activities like eating, bathing, and cooking. But the state prioritizes funding institutional care, and there are currently thousands of people on the wait list for home-based services. As a result, many eligible applicants will die or be forced to move to a nursing home before they get off the waiting list.