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Second Annual Olmstead Conference Scheduled for December 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Second Annual Olmstead Conference Scheduled for December 18, 2009

Conference panelists include self-identified consumers who will share their stories of recovery.

The District of Columbia Department of Mental Health along with the DC Office of Disability Rights is planning the Second Annual Olmstead Conference scheduled for December 18, 2009, in the Chapel of Saint Elizabeths Hospital, 1100 Alabama Avenue, SE. Consumers of health care services and their families, advocates and health care providers are expected to participate in the conference which will focus on “Social Inclusion…What it is and How to Achieve it.”

The District government last year sponsored a community-based planning process to develop a plan to assure home and community based care for individuals with disabilities. This plan called “the Olmstead Plan” complies with a 1999 Supreme Court decision that states could not legally require people with disabilities to remain institutionalized in order to receive health care services. The Court ruled that this unjustified isolation is discrimination based on disability.

The District’s Olmstead Plan recognizes that the availability and quality of community-based services largely determine whether individuals in need of long term care can live in the community instead of an institutional setting such as a nursing facility. Further, responsible community placement depends on the availability of and easy access to services.

This year’s conference will explore ways to develop appropriate community resources that  support consumers of mental health services in their efforts to live successful, fully integrated lives in our communities. Conference panelists include self-identified consumers who will share their stories of recovery.

For more information, contact Vivi Smith, Director of the Office of Consumer and Family Affairs at (202) 673-4377 or Vivi.Smith@dc.gov at the Department of Mental Health.