Olmstead subcabinet responds to pandemic

Olmstead subcabinet responds to pandemic

The latest addendum to Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan is undergoing further U.S. District Court review. After changes were submitted in March, the court asked that the plan’s subcabinet provide further information. That includes answers to specific questions and information regarding potential further revision to existing goals in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The latest addendum was approved by the subcabinet in May and submitted for a May 15 deadline. 

Further information was sought and provided on several pandemic-related issues, including how special education is provided and the status of day activity centers’ staff. The centers closed during the pandemic. Technology access and the methods to provide pandemic-related information to people with low to no reading skills were also outlined. 

Some court questions centered on group homes, including how group homes are staffed, how staff members are compensated during the pandemic and the extent to which personal protective equipment is used. 

The court also asked for a brief explanation of Olmstead Plan goals, summarizing how goals may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and whether further revision is necessary. 

“At this time it is not possible to provide a meaningful analysis of how the existing goals under the Olmstead Plan may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the state is in the midst of responding to the pandemic,” the response stated, citing the need for more data on both the pandemic and plan goals. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic will result in a number of challenges throughout the state, including for individuals with disabilities, and the long-term impacts of the current situation are currently unknown,” the response stated. “If the data reflects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a measurable impact on existing goals, or if it is determined that additional responses are necessary in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, any proposed changes to measurable goals would occur through the Olmstead Subcabinet with an opportunity for community input and engagement.” 

To read the latest response, download the Addendum to Olmstead Plan March 2020 Revision (PDF).