ILNews

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

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

ADVERTISEMENT