Jun. 4—Maine will pay $100,000 in damages and change the way it supplies services to those with intellectual disabilities to resolve a complaint over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation of Maine's operations after a young man with intellectual disabilities complained that the state Department of Health and Human Services was requiring him to move into a congregate home setting to get the services he needed, according to a news release issued Friday by the Justice Department.
Federal officials said Maine's Medicaid program, known as MaineCare, provides unlimited personal assistance services to those living in congregate settings, but that the state's community services program limits those same services when they are provided in a person's own home.
The Justice Department said it agreed with the young man, who said that people with disabilities would have to leave their homes and move into a congregate setting to get all the services they need. The young man's name was withheld.
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division vowed to "vigorously enforce the ADA to avoid unnecessary segregation of people with disabilities and ensure their full integration into the community," Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for that division, said in the release.
In the agreement announced Friday, Maine said it would change its policies to make sure that people with intellectual disabilities or autism receive services "in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs" and would set up a process to grant exceptions to its limit on services provided in one's own home.
DHHS also said it would set up a process to help people assess their options for where they will live and receive services, and that it also will pay $100,000 in damages to the man who filed the complaint.
"The department's goal is always to ensure that adults with developmental disabilities and autism receive the services that best meet their needs and help them lead full, productive lives," DHHS spokesperson Jackie Farwell said Friday. "To that end, we fully cooperated with the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation and are pleased with this settlement we believe will advance that goal."