National ACLU Story about the K.W. Lawsuit

Last week, the ACLU gave national spotlight to the K.W. lawsuit about Idaho adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In a national blog post, the ACLU explained how the case challenged they Idaho Medicaid was using complicated, computer-based formulas to come up with individual budgets.

Learn more about the case and read quotes from Ritchie Eppink, one of the lawyers involved in the case. The article is on the ACLU's national Free Future blog, about technology and civil liberties.

The First Report is Almost Ready!

Your opinion is more important than ever.

The Department of Health and Welfare is still at work hearing from people with developmental and intellectual disabilities across the state. A group called "Community NOW!" has been meeting since January. This group is centered around adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. They are giving their opinion about what services and supports they need and how the Medicaid program should change.

In April and May, the Department of Health and Welfare traveled around the state to hearing from people who are not part of the Community NOW! group. The ACLU went along to monitor the meetings and to hear from people who attended, too.

Now the helping organization that the Department is working with, called Human Services Research Institute, is working on a report about what we heard from people. That report will have recommendations for what the Department should change. The report will be finished by the end of June.

Soon, you should have a chance to look at the report and give your opinion. Stay tuned for the next update.

Whenever you have questions, just let us know!

We are making a book!

There are a lot of changes coming for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in Idaho. This website it about how we can all be a part of making those changes.

Drawing of an open book

Drawing of an open book

We want to tell the story about how these changes happen. We want adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities to be the ones who tell the story.

We are going to make a book to tell the story. If you know someone with a developmental or intellectual disability who might want to be a part of the book, please let us know!

Many speech bubbles in different colors

Many speech bubbles in different colors

We are going to start working on the book next month--in May 2017. We will tell the story of each step along the way. Each part of the process will be a new chapter. Just contact us if you or someone you know would like to tell their story in the book.

IDHW Listening Sessions have started!

ACLU of Idaho Legal Director Ritchie Eppink traveled to eastern Idaho this week. He was there to monitor the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's "Listening Sessions." The Listening Sessions are meetings across Idaho for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The Department wants to hear from you. We let you know about this statewide tour a few weeks ago.

The tour started this week. The Department had meetings with adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Twin Falls.

Shoshone Falls (April 5, 2017). Photo by Ritchie Eppink, ACLU of Idaho Legal Director.

Shoshone Falls (April 5, 2017). Photo by Ritchie Eppink, ACLU of Idaho Legal Director.

The next meetings will be in Boise on April 14, 2017. If you are an adult with developmental or intellectual disabilities in the Medicaid program and you live in the Boise area, you should have gotten a letter this week about how to sign up. You have to call ahead to sign up.

After that, there will be meetings in:

  • Caldwell on April 24
  • Emmett on April 24
  • Lewiston on May 2
  • Grangeville on May 2
  • Coeur d'Alene on May 3
  • Sandpoint on May 4

If you live in those areas, you should get a letter soon about how to sign up.

As always, if you have any questions, just let us know!

Find us on Facebook, finally!

Many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have asked us to share updates and information on Facebook. We heard you, and we've created a new Our Health and Welfare Facebook page.

On that page, we'll post updates like the ones we post on this website, plus other things we like and find around the Internet. Go to https://Facebook.com/OurHealthandWelfare and like us today! You can also find us at our primary ACLU of Idaho Facebook page as well.

Introducing... The Jack Hansen Show!

Jack Hansen is one of the thousands of Idahoans affected by the changes that are coming to the Idaho Medicaid program for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. We are working with Jack to produce a series of videos about the changes. We hope that these videos will help everyone understand the changes and how to get involved so that your voice is part of the process.

In the first episode, Jack interviews Ritchie Eppink, Legal Director of the ACLU of Idaho:

The Jack Hansen Show episode 1: Jack interviews Ritchie Eppink, Legal Director of the ACLU of Idaho, about the K.W. v. Armstrong lawsuit

Jack asks Ritchie to talk about the K.W. v. Armstrong class action lawsuit. In the K.W. lawsuit, the judge ruled that the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare had to make big changes to the Medicaid program for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. To learn more about those changes and why you should get involved, watch the video and read more on the Our Health and Welfare website.

IDHW Statewide Tour

IDHW, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, is about to go on tour around Idaho to hear what you have to say.

Two months ago, we wrote about the new Community NOW! group. That is a group where adults with developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities are at the center. They are sharing what they think about the supports that work best for them.

Now IDHW is going to travel to 11 places in Idaho to hear from adults with developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities in those places.

You should get a letter about how to sign up to go when the tour comes near you. You have to call or email ahead of time to sign up. Sign up as soon as you get the letter to make sure you get in. People in eastern Idaho should have already gotten the letter. If you do not get one, please let us know.

The ACLU of Idaho, who represents all adults in Idaho's Medicaid DD services program, will also go to these events across Idaho. Just contact us if you want to talk more about these events.

Here are the places where the tour will go:

  • Idaho Falls (April 4)
  • Pocatello (April 5)
  • Twin Falls (April 6)
  • Boise (mid-April)
  • Mountain Home (mid-April)
  • Caldwell (late April)
  • Emmett (late April)
  • Lewiston (early May)
  • Grangeville (early May)
  • Coeur d'Alene (early May)
  • Sandpoint (early May)

Questions or feedback for IDHW?

Thanks for all the feedback! Many people have contacted the ACLU lately. We welcome all of your comments about the settlement and changes to come.

We try to make sure that the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare hears the feedback you give to us. But you can also share that feedback directly with the Department as well. They will try to answer your questions about the K.W. v. Armstrong settlement as well.

The email address to use is KW [at] dhw.idaho.gov.

The toll-free number is 1-844-793-1286.

You can always reach the ACLU of Idaho and our Legal Director Ritchie Eppink, by contacting us here.

Settlement Approved

Last Thursday, the judge decided to approve the K.W. v. Armstrong settlement. The judge held a hearing about it. At the end of the hearing the judge said he approved the settlement.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has already been working on the promises it made in the settlement. The official approval just makes sure that this work will continue.

Do you have questions about the settlement or the judge's approval? If you do, just let us know.

Community NOW! Work Group

This week a new group started. The group is called Community NOW! This group is talking about changes to the Idaho adult DD Medicaid program. People with developmental disabilities who are in the program are part of the group. Some people are family members of people with developmental disabilities who are in the program. There are also people from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in the group. Some providers and people from the ACLU of Idaho in the group, too.

The group had its first meeting this week, on Wednesday. The day before, on Tuesday, the people with developmental disabilities and the family members of people with developmental disabilities met to get ready for the big meeting on Wednesday.

The group is going to focus on the services you can get in the DD Medicaid program. The group is talking about services at home, services in the community, and services at work. The group is break into smaller groups to talk about home, community, and work. The smaller groups will meet six times over the next six months. The whole, big group will meet two more times: in April and in June. At the end of all the meetings, the group will have some final ideas for changes.

At the meeting this week, people talked about what the group would be doing. You can read about it in the packet that people got. Here is the packet:

Cover of the Community NOW! meeting packet for January 3 and 4, 2017

Cover of the Community NOW! meeting packet for January 3 and 4, 2017

After that, people broke into three groups. One group talked about life at home, one group talked about life in the community, and a third group talked about life at work. Then the three small groups told everyone else what they talked about.

Next, small groups will meet separately to talk more about home, community, and work. The next meetings will be on January 17 (home), 18 (community), and 19 (work). Although the meetings are just for those in the group, there are other ways to get involved if you are not in the group. You can start by contacting us.

If you have questions or comments, please just let us know!