C.F. v. Lashway: Access to Community-Based Services

Description of the action

This lawsuit is trying to make sure all people in Washington who would like to live in the community have that choice. Sadly, there are many people who live in institutions or are afraid they may have to live in an institution because they cannot get a supported living provider to meet their needs.

In 2015, DRW discovered there were 50 people in Residential Habilitation Centers (RHCs) who had said they wanted to live in the community but were waiting to find a supported living provider.

By Spring 2016, DRW learned there were another 41 people already on a home and community-based waiver who were going without the supported living services they need to stay in the community and out of institutions.

In August, 2016, DRW filed an Olmstead lawsuit against the Department of Social and Health Service (DSHS) and the Health Care Authority (HCA). This case is about giving people who wish to live in the community the supports needed to be successful living out of institutions.

C.F. v. Lashway, No. 2:16-cv-01205-RSM, is a class action lawsuit filed in the Western District Court of Washington. Plaintiffs C.F., J.P., and L.B. brought this case against the Secretary of the Washington State DSHS and the Director of Washington’s HCA on behalf of themselves and similarly situated individuals. They allege that DSHS and HCA do not have an adequate system for ensuring they receive necessary services in the most integrated setting appropriate for their needs. They further allege there is no effectively working plan to ensure these plaintiffs and potential class members will avoid institutionalization. The lawsuit seeks to secure systemic reforms to establish a system to provide community-based integrated placement for plaintiffs and class members who need community-based habilitative services to avoid institutionalization.

Case Documents

Summary of work: 

Milestone: August 2, 2016

Class Action Lawsuit filed in Federal Court: Plaintiffs file class action lawsuit in federal court alleging that DSHS and HCA are causing them to be unnecessarily institutionalized or at risk of institutionalization because the Defendants do not have an adequate system for ensuring Plaintiffs and similarly situated individuals receive necessary services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

Milestone: August 1, 2016

DSHS Refuses to Hold Settlement Discussions: DRW receives response from Secretary Lashway and Director Teeter saying that DRW’s legal conclusions were premature and they were only willing to “meet with [DRW] for discussion purposes, but not to engage in settlement discussions.”

Milestone: July 20, 2016

DRW Seeks Collaborative Solution with DSHS: DRW sends a letter to DSHS Acting Secretary Patricia Lashway, and Health Care Authority (HCA) Director Dorothy Frost Teeter, requesting a meeting to discuss a collaborative way to address this systemic problem by ensuring all eligible individuals who wish to live in the community have the option to do so.

Milestone: April 1, 2016

DRW Expands Investigation: DRW expands its investigation to include individuals with developmental disabilities living in the community but unable to access supported living services who are at risk of institutionalization.

Milestone: November 24, 2015

DRW Opens Investigation: DRW begins investigation into allegations that qualified individuals with developmental disabilities who live in state-run facilities called RHCs are unable to access supported living services in the community.