South Carolina ranks 41st in funding home care

South Carolina ranks 41st in funding home care

Fifteen years after a landmark Supreme Court ruling on giving the disabled a choice to live outside institutions, South Carolina has shown little progress.

The 1999 Olmstead v. L.C. decision says unnecessarily segregating people in mental hospitals and nursing homes amounts to discrimination. Advocates for the mentally ill, elderly and disabled cite the ruling in arguing for home- or community-based care.

South Carolina ranks behind 40 other states and the District of Columbia in non-institutional spending. It spent 41 percent of Medicaid long-term care funding on home and community services in 2012. That's up from 35 percent a decade earlier, when the state ranked 22nd.

But state officials expect a $45 million infusion in the 2014-15 budget to take 1,400 people with disabilities off waiting lists for home-based services.

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