The U.S. Department of Justice and other private plaintiffs have reached an interim settlement with the State of Texas regarding intellectually and developmentally disabled persons.

The interim agreement calls for the state to begin expanding community alternatives to nursing facilities for people with these types of disabilities, and the private parties will temporarily suspend their ongoing litigation and work to negotiate a comprehensive settlement of all remaining issues in the case.

The litigation involves claims that the state has not complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court of the United States’ 1999 decision in Olmstead v. L.C., claiming that the state was needlessly institutionalizing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in nursing facilities.

“We applaud the state’s commitment to initiate steps providing real options to Texans with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, so that they can live and engage in their own communities, rather than spend their lives in nursing facilities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Jocelyn Samuels.

Under the interim agreement, the state will identify people with developmental disabilities in nursing facilities, inform them about community options, and help those who want to move to the community receive needed services there, instead of in a nursing facility.

Texas will also establish a system to help divert people from avoidable nursing facility admission.

A suit against the state was filed in 2010 by private plaintiffs, represented by Disability Rights Texas, the Center for Public Representation, and the law firm of Weil, Gotshal, and Manges LLP. The Justice Department intervened in the case in 2012.