Several federal lawsuits have influenced the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ (DIDD) service system over recent years. Following is background on the litigation.
In January 1992, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the State of Tennessee for violations of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) at the Arlington Developmental Center. Since November 1993, the facility has been under a U.S. District Court order to correct conditions at the facility. A court-appointed monitor ensures that Arlington Developmental Center complies with the terms of the remedial order. The remedial monitor’s staff review treatment programs at Arlington twice a year and also performs quarterly reviews of community services in West Tennessee.
In April 1996, DIDD entered into a settlement agreement with the advocacy group People First, which had sued the state, charging violations of CRIPA at Clover Bottom and Greene Valley Developmental Centers. The United States Department of Justice strongly suggested that the state settle and, in December 1996, sued the state to become a party in the settlement negotiations. A four-member Quality Review panel is required to monitor the developmental centers and community annually. In March, 2006 a Federal Court in Nashville dismissed Greene Valley from the part of the lawsuit involving institutional conditions at the center. Work continues, and progress is being made on bringing Clover Bottom into compliance with the settlement agreement.
In 2000, a lawsuit was filed by Tennessee Protection and Advocacy on behalf of Medicaid eligible citizens of Tennessee who were on the waiting list for services provided through DIDD, or who had been denied the opportunity to apply for services. A settlement agreement was signed on June 15, 2004. The settlement agreement required DIDD to seek approval of a new Self-Determination Waiver, which was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in January 2005. Under this settlement agreement, case managers were assigned to each person on the waiting list to assist them with accessing services through DIDD, as well as other generic resources within their communities. Also, DIDD executed a public relations campaign to inform people about how to apply for services, as well as what types of services are available. Another requirement of the settlement agreement was the Consumer Directed Supports Program which provided a small amount of money for individuals on the waiting list and their families to use to purchase a small amount of services and supports while they were waiting for waiver services.
DIDD complied with the requirements of the settlement agreement. By its terms, the settlement agreement ended on December 31, 2009. In February 2010, the United States District Court issues a final order on the Brown case declaring the case closed.