HLD, v. 33, n. 5 (May 2005)
Ninth Circuit Finds
State May Limit Services To
Developmentally Disabled Under Medicaid Waiver Regardless Of ADA
The Arc of Washington, a privately operated residence, and
three developmentally disabled individuals (plaintiffs) brought a class action
against the state of Washington's
Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) alleging that limiting the
state's services to a particular number of individuals violates the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA). The district court granted partial summary judgment
in favor of DSHS, decertified the class, and dismissed the action. Plaintiffs
The Ninth Circuit affirmed on the ADA issue. The appeals court first noted that
the Medicaid waiver statute that allows for the provision of services at home does
provide for a limit on the number of individuals who may receive the services.
On the other hand, the appeals court also noted that the ADA provides that "no qualified individual
with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation
in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a
public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity."
Plaintiffs argue that in order to comply with this
provision, Washington must make home-based services available to every
developmentally disabled person who qualifies. Disagreeing, the appeals court
found that the ADA
cannot overcome the specific cap provision of the Medicaid statute. Under
principles of statutory construction, a general statute will not nullify a
specific one, said the court.
Accordingly, the appeals court found that Washington is permitted to limit its
services to a particular number of people in this instance.
Arc of Washington
State Inc. v. Braddock, No. 03-35605, 2005 WL 701683 (9th Cir. Mar. 29, 2005). To read the case, go to http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/21753C0F7FCAA0E088256FD300016AD5/$file/0335605.pdf?openelement