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Arguments set in Medicaid appeal

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

In a case that involves whether Medicaid applicants who were rejected can include information that was not in their initial applications when they appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court has set oral arguments for March 3 at 9 a.m.

In its July 21 decision in Anne Waltermann Murphy, et al. v. William Curtis, et al., No. 49A04-0909-CV-503, the majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel reversed the decision of a Marion Superior judge and found in favor of Anne Waltermann Murphy in her official capacity as secretary of Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and Patricia Casanova in her official capacity as director of the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

One of the Court of Appeals judges dissented, writing that she disagreed with the majority’s conclusion that an administrative law judge’s “refusal to consider evidence of conditions not disclosed on a Medicaid disability application does not violate federal Medicaid law and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana attorneys who represented the three named plaintiffs – William Curtis, Gary Stewart, and Walter Raines – as well as attorneys for Indiana Legal Services who frequently represent Medicaid applicants in their appeals, have expressed concern that because applicants are unsure of what is needed for successful applications, with or without assistance from a family member or social worker, they should be able to present additional evidence at appeals.

Lawyers in the attorney general’s office who represented Murphy and Casanova argued that in many cases, applicants do have someone who should be able to provide enough information to help with applications.

However, attorneys for the plaintiffs said that while this is sometimes the case, the three plaintiffs’ experiences in a relatively short amount of time led them to believe there were many more examples of failed appeals where the applicants should have been allowed to present more evidence at appeal than what was in the application.

In Curtis’ case, his caseworker advised him only to report his mental health issues and not include his orthopedic problems. Stewart, who applied so he could receive medical attention, which is a fairly common reason to apply for Medicaid, wasn’t diagnosed with his pre-existing condition of congestive heart failure until after he submitted his application. He did not know what was wrong at the time he filled out his application. Raines “either had trouble identifying his illness or he didn’t consider it disabling,” said ACLU of Indiana attorney Gavin Rose, who represents the plaintiffs.

Rehearing "Medicaid applicants facing 'tremendous hurdles'?" IL Sept. 29-Oct. 12, 2010

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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