45 Years of Impact Spotlight
Ensuring Access to Attendant Care and Personal Assistance Services
DRP has advocated for decades for Medicaid services for people with physical disabilities. DRP advocated for the creation of the Act 150 Program, the first program to provide services to people with physical disabilities so they can live in their homes in the community and go to work, attend school, and other activities in the community. Because Act 150 is a purely state-funded program, a waiting list developed due to inadequate funding. In Williams v. Snider (1993), DRP filed a case in Commonwealth Court to end the waiting list for Act 150 services. DRP asserted that the Department of Public Welfare should be compelled to maximize federal funds for these services by establishing a Medicaid Waiver program, resulting in creation of the Attendant Care Waiver (ACW). Next, in Vicki R. v. Houstoun (1995), DRP filed a suit to compel DHS to provide start-up funds for the ACW, as a result of which nearly 100 people received services. Then, DRP filed a series of cases for clients in a variety of situations who needed attendant care services, Jones v. DPW (1996) (class action for clients in nursing facilities), Bustion v. DPW (1996) (client in rehab hospital), Joy W. v. DPW (1996) (clients at risk of institutionalization in nursing facilities) but were on waiting lists because DPW was still not fully implementing the ACW. These cases, combined with demonstrations by consumers, led DPW finally to fully implement ACW. In Smith v. DHS (2013), DRP filed a lawsuit on behalf of clients who were ineligible for the ACW but were on a waiting list of the Act 150 Program. That case resulted in funding to provide attendant care services to all people on the waiting list.
And in 2022, we filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to stop cuts to personal assistance services for participants in the Community Health Choices waiver for people with physical disabilities.