Our Mission

The Mission of the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. is to protect, promote and expand the rights of people with disabilities.


Belief Statement

The ODLC mission reflects the belief that people with disabilities are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect; to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination.

The ODLC mission also reflects the belief that people with disabilities are entitled to equal rights and to equally effective access to the same opportunities as are afforded other members of society.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS - COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE

Let’s Talk About the Waiting List

We spoke with Andy Moore and his co-hosts at “Let’s Pod This” about the Waiting List for HCBS waivers and the report released by the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency.  If you have questions or need more information please call us! 800-880-7755

THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES TELLS OKLAHOMA HEALTH CARE AUTHORITY IMPOSITION OF A 5-YEAR RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR THE RECEIPT OF HOME AND COMMUNITY BASED WAIVER SERVICES IS NOT PERMITTED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 16, 2021
PRESS CONTACT:
RoseAnn Duplan,
405-409-5781
roseann@okdlc.org

THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES TELLS OKLAHOMA HEALTH CARE AUTHORITY IMPOSITION OF A
5-YEAR RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR THE RECEIPT OF HOME AND COMMUNITY BASED WAIVER SERVICES IS NOT PERMITTED

Today the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a formal response to the June 1, 2021 letter sent by Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. (ODLC), the National Health Law Program, The ARC of the United States, The ARC of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Policy Institute, and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. expressing concerns over the legality of the 5-year length of residency requirement imposed by the passage of HB2899. The CMS letter clearly affirms the length of residency requirement is not permitted.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) understands that House Bill 2899 places a five-year residency requirement on individuals with intellectual disabilities before they access Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires states to treat individuals who have moved recently to a state the same as individuals who have resided in the state for a longer period of time unless shown necessary to promote a compelling governmental interest. Consistent with this Constitutional prohibition, federal regulations also prohibit state Medicaid agencies from denying eligibility if the individual has not resided in the state for a specified period of time (See 42 CFR § 435.403(j)(1)). Thus, imposition of a 5-year residency requirement for the receipt of HCBS waiver services is not permitted.

ODLC’s Director of Litigation and Legal Services, Brian Wilkerson said, “We are pleased with the CMS response. We just don’t think they could have been any clearer, this type of requirement is simply not allowed under federal law. ODLC remains committed to ensuring that all Oklahomans with disabilities are able to access programs and services without discrimination or illegal delays.”

“We believe this CMS response demonstrates the vital role of organizations, like The Arc of Oklahoma and others who advocate for and with people with disabilities and their families to ensure timely access to the quality supports and services they need and want to achieve a life of personal significance,” said Lisa Turner, CEO for The Arc of Oklahoma.

June 1, 2021 Letter to CMS

September 16, 2021 CMS response


 

Oklahoma Disability Law Center Praises OCR’s Prompt Investigation into Concerns Oklahoma’s Restrictions on School Mask Mandates May Be Preventing Schools from Meeting Their Legal Obligations to Students with Disabilities.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 30, 2021

PRESS CONTACT:
RoseAnn Duplan
405-409-5781
roseann@okdlc.org

Oklahoma Disability Law Center Praises OCR’s Prompt Investigation into Concerns Oklahoma’s Restrictions on School Mask Mandates May Be Preventing Schools from Meeting Their Legal Obligations to Students with Disabilities.

 

Oklahoma Disability Law Center (ODLC) is pleased with the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) prompt response to concerns Oklahoma’s current prohibition on School Mask Mandates is preventing Oklahoma schools from providing an equal educational opportunity to students with disabilities, who are at heightened risk of severe illness from COVID-19, as required by law.

ODLC currently represents several Oklahoma students who have been denied accommodations necessary to allow them to safely attend school given their individual health conditions which place them at greater risk of severe illness should they contract COVID-19. School Districts are citing Oklahoma’s prohibition on school mask mandates as the reason for denying these students’ requests for accommodation of appropriate mitigation measures to be put in place, despite the fact the Oklahoma law is in direct conflict with federal anti-discrimination laws.

“We have recently filed OCR complaints against both individual school districts as well as the Oklahoma State Department of Education for policies that prevent simple mitigation measures like masking in school buildings, which we believe are denying high-risk students access to a free and appropriate public education. We are pleased that OCR has responded quickly and we intend to continue to take whatever legal steps necessary to ensure the rights of these high-risk students to safe and equitable access to education in Oklahoma are enforced,” said Brian Wilkerson, ODLC’s Director of Litigation and Legal Services.

ODLC is currently in the process of filing additional federal complaints with regards to Oklahoma school districts refusing to enforce mask mandates on school buses as required by the CDC Order mandating masks be worn on public transportation including school buses. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/face-masks-public-transportation.html

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Oklahoma Disability Law Center Inc. is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. Its mission is to protect, promote and expand the rights of people with disabilities.


 

HB 2899 DURATION OF RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR HCBS

 

UPDATE 5/19/21:   In addition to the legal concerns we identified previously, with further research we now find that HB 2899 also violates the terms set forth by CMS for states receiving increased federal Medicaid money under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“CMS expects states to demonstrate compliance with section 9817 of the ARP, beginning April 1, 2021, and until the state funds equivalent to the amount of federal funds attributable to the increased FMAP are fully expended. To demonstrate compliance with the requirement not to supplant existing state funds expended for Medicaid HCBS, states must:
• Not impose stricter eligibility standards, methodologies, or procedures for HCBS programs and services than were in place on April 1, 2021;
• Preserve covered HCBS, including the services themselves and the amount, duration, and scope of those services, in effect as of April 1, 2021; and
• Maintain HCBS provider payments at a rate no less than those in place as of April 1, 2021.”

 

ODLC was made aware of language added to HB 2899 late Thursday. The language of the bill adds a requirement that a person must be a resident of Oklahoma for 5 years before they can apply for a Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) waiver for persons with Intellectual Disabilities through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

ODLC believes this duration of residency requirement is not allowable for the following reasons:

  • Creates a severe Olmstead problem because it only applies to HCBS so a person moving to Oklahoma could be admitted to a nursing home or intermediate care facility for persons with intellectual disabilities under SoonerCare but not get HCBS in a less restrictive setting.
  • Creates a residency requirement that is not allowed under Federal Medicaid Statute and Regulations –42 U.S. Code § 1396a(b)(2) and 42 CFR 435.403 (j)(1)
    • Oklahoma Medicaid Regulations mirror the Federal Language (no doubt put here to satisfy Federal requirements)OAC 317:35-5-26(a)
  • Not allowable under 1915(c) Waiver design
  • Violate reasonable promptness requirements that are not waived/waivable under 42 U.S. Code § 1396n(c)
  • Duration of Residency Requirements have been long held as unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and or the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
    • U.S. district courts have held that requiring a Medicaid applicant to reside in-state for a period of time before their benefits are determined is a violation of their fundamental rights to interstate travel as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution
  • Creates discriminatory limits on one population
    • This places restrictions only on services for those who have intellectual disabilities and poses no such limits on services for those eligible for services under the ADvantage Waiver or the Medically Fragile Waiver.

If you would like additional information, please contact our office at 800-880-7755


 

ODLC wants to help ensure Oklahomans with disabilities can access the COVID-19 Vaccine

Are you a person with a disability who is having trouble getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Oklahoma? Let us know how we can help! 

person wearing scrubs holding a heart shaped sign that reads "vaccine"

The U.S. Department of Education Issued Additional Guidance to Address Special Ed Issues Related to COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Education issued question-and-answer documents in recent weeks in response to questions the Education Department has received from stakeholders across the country about how to provide services to students with disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Two guidance documents were issued, the first guidance document is aimed at services for older students and makes clear how services designed to prepare those with disabilities for employment can continue in light of COVID-19 restrictions. The guidance states that work-based learning experiences for students with disabilities can take place online rather than in-person.

The second guidance document addresses services for infants and toddlers under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The guidance addresses Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meetings, service provision, and timelines.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s Special Education services call our office at 800-880-7755.