DHS Temporarily Restores Services For Oregonians With Disabilities

Apr 19, 2017
Originally published on April 19, 2017 2:40 pm

The Oregon Department of Human Services has temporarily stopped cutting in-home care for people living with disabilities in the state following a court-ordered injunction Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Disability Rights Oregon filed a class-action lawsuit against DHS that claimed the state agency gave almost no notice to people before cutting assistance for services like eating, bathing and taking medication.

Between 2015 and 2017, some 3,000 children and 8,000 adults accessed in-home care through DHS, according to Disability Rights Oregon. The nonprofit advocacy group said the services are primarily funded through Medicaid.

Last September, the state cut the number of hours people received in-home care.

“In the past seven months, those in-home care hours have been cut for virtually every person in Oregon entitled to those in-home care hours,” the lawsuit stated.

Disability Rights Oregon called Wednesday's injunction and agreement with DHS a “positive first step” while they negotiate a future plan for home care benefits.

“We’re hopeful that we can work with DHS to build on this initial progress toward fixing how they determine home care benefits," said attorney Tom Stenson in a statement.

Under the injunction, anyone who saw cuts to their home care will have services restored, anyone with pending cuts will have those rescinded, and anyone facing future cuts will have an evaluation first.

DHS has said it will use a new needs assessment this September to make services more cost-effective.

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