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ACLU of Indiana files class-action lawsuit against FSSA for changes to Medicaid waiver programs

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The ACLU of Indiana has slapped the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration with a class-action lawsuit over the way the state agency operates two of its Medicaid waiver programs.

Filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, the lawsuit alleges that policy changes made in late 2012 and early 2013 to two Medicaid wavier programs have put Hoosiers at “grave risk of immediate and irreparable harm in the community.”

The two programs are the Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver and the Aged and Disabled Waiver.

These programs, according to the ACLU of Indiana, serve thousand of Hoosiers, offering services that enable them to live in their community even though their disabling conditions would otherwise require that they be institutionalized.

The lawsuit, Karla Steimel, et. al. v. Debra Minott, et. al., 1:13-CV-957-JMS-MJD, alleges the agency’s policies violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that the state provide services to individuals with disabilities in the least restrictive setting appropriate to their needs,” said ACLU of Indiana staff attorney Gavin Rose. “Right now, Indiana is not living up to that mandate.”

As part of the policy changes, the FSSA eliminated entirely a waiting list for the CIH Waiver. It instead moved to determining that only individuals who meet certain “priority criteria” may receive placement on that waiver.

Historically, the FSSA has maintained a waiting list for the CIH Waiver which often delayed services for needy individuals for 10 to 15 years. Under the new rules, the ACLU of Indiana asserts, many people who once would have been eligible to receive services through the program can never become eligible.

Also, the agency recently decided that individuals with developmental disabilities who do not required skilled nursing services, such as assistance with a ventilator or medication administration, may no longer received services through the A&D Waiver.    

The lead plaintiff in the case, Karla Steimel brings this action on her own behalf and on behalf of three classes of those similarly situated.  

Steimel is a 27-year-old Knox County resident who has cerebral palsy along with physical disabilities. She lives by herself in the community but requires complete assistance for daily activities like bathing, preparing meals and running errands.

She has been on the waiting list for the CIH Waiver for at least 12 years but she was removed around Sept. 1, 2012.

Through the A&D Waiver, Steimel receives about 160 hours each month of attendant care services. This includes transportation to the Knox County ARC where she is employed and receives employment-related services five days a week.

The suit requests the court issue a preliminary injunction, later to be made permanent, requiring the FSSA to re-instate the waiting list for placement on the CIH Waiver, eliminate any requirement that individuals meet the agency’s priority criteria to be placed on the waiting list and provide sufficient slots through this waiver for the waiting list to move at a reasonable pace.

Also, the suit requests a preliminary injunction requiring the defendants to continue providing services through the A&D Waiver.

 

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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