Is The Arc crossing the line? Where does the Antitrust law come into play?

The time has come for people to be aware of the monopolistic power which The Arc organization wields regarding control over information dissemination, public policy, social media and advocacy with regards to issues concerning our citizens with intellectual disabilities.

1.  The Arc frequently misinterprets the U.S. Supreme Court Decision Olmstead:   (From Legal Information Institute – Cornell University Law School )

”  This case concerns the proper construction of the anti-discrimination provision contained in the public services portion (Title II) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 104 Stat. 337, 42 U.S.C. § 12132. Specifically, we confront the question whether the proscription of discrimination may require placement of persons with mental disabilities in community settings rather than in institutions. The answer, we hold, is a qualified yes. Such action is in order when the State’s treatment professionals have determined that community placement is appropriate, the transfer from institutional care to a less restrictive setting is not opposed by the affected individual, and the placement can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the State and the needs of others with mental disabilities. In so ruling, we affirm the decision of the Eleventh Circuit in substantial part. We remand the case, however, for further consideration of the appropriate relief, given the range of facilities the State maintains for the care and treatment of persons with diverse mental disabilities, and its obligation to administer services with an even hand.”

And more:

“We emphasize that nothing in the ADA or its implementing regulations condones termination of institutional settings for persons unable to handle or benefit from community settings”.

” Consistent with these provisions, the State generally may rely on the reasonable assessments of its own professionals in determining whether an individual “meets the essential eligibility requirements” for habilitation in a community-based program. Absent such qualification, it would be inappropriate to remove a patient from the more restrictive setting.”

“Nor is there any federal requirement that community-based treatment be imposed on patients who do not desire it.”

“There may be times [when] a patient can be treated in the community, and others whe[n] an institutional placement is necessary For other individuals, no placement outside the institution may ever be appropriate. See Brief for American Psychiatric Association et al. as Amici Curiae 22—23 (“Some individuals, whether mentally retarded or mentally ill, are not prepared at particular times–perhaps in the short run, perhaps in the long run–for the risks and exposure of the less protective environment of community settings”; for these persons, “institutional settings are needed and must remain available.”); Brief for Voice of the Retarded et al. as Amici Curiae 11 (“Each disabled person is entitled to treatment in the most integrated setting possible for that person–recognizing that, on a case-by-case basis, that setting may be in an institution.”); Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 327 (1982) (Blackmun, J., concurring) (“For many mentally retarded people, the difference between the capacity to do things for themselves within an institution and total dependence on the institution for all of their needs is as much liberty as they ever will know.”

2.  By misinterpreting “Olmstead The Arc incorrectly informs the public that “Olmstead” does not support Intermediate Care Facilities for People with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/ID) or congregate care.

3.  Many chapters of The Arc censor and block postings which point out the inaccuracies of this misinterpretation.

These behaviors from The Arc Chapters are bordering on violating the U.S. Antitrust Laws by possessing a monopoly of power in a relevant arena and willfully acquiring and maintaining that power by censorship of information to the very population they state they are advocating for.  If The Arc did not run a monopoly I believe they would welcome the sharing of information to better inform people of their choices with regards to person centered planning.

The Arc does not support a continuum of care system and by this decision is practicing discrimination against some of the very people they state they advocate for.  How can this be?

The Community Advocacy Coalition requires members to sign a contract which states they oppose congregate care.  How many of these organizations understand by signing this contract they are violating the rights of many who they say they advocate for?  By requiring members to sign this contract, The Arc of Washington State is denying membership to many who advocate for a continuum of care, a system which upholds the Olmstead Decision and person centered care based on the individual’s support and care needs.

This decision of The Arc to perpetuate misinformation and block others from discussions is unfortunate.  There is much good that The Arc has to share but by this practice of censorship they are doing a great disservice to our communities.  I urge The Arc chapters to take a look at their policies regarding this information.

One may wonder why there is not alot of information regarding this topic on other sites.  The reason is that if one attempts to post something that does not align with what The Arc states, the post will most likely be removed and the author will be blocked.

Here is one letter that I received from the policy director of The Arc of Washington after several requests of mine to be unblocked:


Cheryl – Sue Elliott and I discussed allowing you to post on The Arc’s social media sites again with the understanding you will abide by the rules of not posting derogatory comments about The Arc and other community advocacy organizations. In order for this to happen, I need you to unblock me from seeing your Facebook posts. Please notify me when you have done so. Thank you  (Written November 3, 2011)

1.  I have never blocked any of the members of The Arc

2.  The term “derogatory” means “not in agreement with” to them

3.  I am still blocked from their sites even though I responded to the above note.


9 comments on “Is The Arc crossing the line? Where does the Antitrust law come into play?

  1. Maria Walsh says:

    This article states the concerns of undue influence of the Arc,WA.,and shows the negative impact of their censorship. According to our Washington State constitution, Article XIII (13). Our institutions, including penal,reformatory,educational and caring for the mentally ill and mentally intellectually disabled and such other institutions as the public good may require, shall be fostered and supported by the state, subject to such regulations as may be provided by law. They are not just buildings, they are home to persons who may not be able to benefit from off campus living arrangements. Their civil right is to choose where they receive the services needed for their safe, healthy and supported life care. Maria Walsh


  2. Kamryn Martin says:

    So blasting your opinion of The Arc is better? Wow, you’re really no better than what you’re complaining about.


  3. Kamryn Martin says:

    Least The Arc isn’t publicly bashing you!


  4. Kamryn,

    I’m stating facts – go back and read this article.

    “The people who oppose your ideas are inevitably those who represent the established order that your ideas will upset.”
    Anthony J. D’Angelo quote


    • Kamryn Martin says:

      I don’t need to reread the article..I understood it just fine, I just wonder if your approach is correct?


      • I would love to be able to have another approach to communicate with The Arc but they have censored anything I write – even if I agree with them – and do not allow discourse so that people can be fully informed of the situation. I find this very sad and this is why I think that some antitrust violation is occurring. I am fully aware of much of the good that The Arc has done in advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. It is extremely unfortunate that The Arc has taken this dogmatic approach to the issues of congregate care. I have attempted to education with documentation from the Department of Social and Health Services, The Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Certified Residential Care Program Cost Reports, citations of abuse and neglect, lack of nursing and medical care – yet they will not look at this information since it does not follow the agenda that they want to push. If you have a better approach, please let me know. I am only hoping that people can see options and be educated from different perspectives and from truth rather than false beliefs.


  5. […] Sylvia Fuerstenburg – Executive Director, The Arc of King County […]


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