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Judge approves proposed settlement agreement

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A federal judge has approved a proposed settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit against the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration alleging that an agency policy that doesn’t allow certain Medicaid waiver enrollees to apply for services other than what’s been approved by their case manager is in violation of federal Medicaid law.

Bernis Boatman, by her daughter Diana Wilbur, filed the original action in February 2010 against the then-FSSA Secretary Anne Waltermann Murphy, and the directors of the Division of Aging and Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning, after their case manager did not submit a request for additional services to the Division of Aging. Boatman was enrolled in the Aged & Disabled Waiver Program, and was approved to receive certain services each week or month. When her daughter, who was her primary caretaker, became ill and unable to care for her mother as she had before, the pair asked for additional services from their case manager.

There is no mechanism for someone to request additional services beyond what they had already been approved for, and their class-action suit claimed they were unable to apply for these services because of FSSA policy. The class consists of anyone who is enrolled or will be enrolled in the ADW program operated by FSSA. The FSSA operates five Medicaid waiver programs approved by the federal government, including the ADW program. The Department of Health and Human Services may waive certain requirements of the Medicaid program for states that include as “medical assistance” home and community-based services that are provided to someone, who but for such services, would require the level of care provided in a hospital, nursing facility, or intermediate care facility for the mentally disabled.

The parties stipulated and agreed to enter into a settlement agreement in March 2011. Under the terms of the settlement, when case managers create waiver enrollees’ proposed cost comparison budget and plan of care to submit to the FSSA for approval, case managers must submit a request for services for whatever amount and type of service each waiver enrollee desires. Case managers will be trained that they are now required to submit these requests to FSSA, and if for some reason, the case manager refuses or does not submit the request for services, the waiver enrollee may contact FSSA directly.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson in the Southern District of Indiana approved the proposed settlement in Edna Chadwell, et al. v. Michael A. Gargano, et al., No. 1:10-CV-158, finding it to be fair, reasonable and an adequate resolution. The plaintiffs are receiving everything that they could obtain through a final judgment in their favor in the settlement, she wrote, and this settlement spares the continued expense of litigating the matter.

The defendants, who deny all the allegations against them, also agreed to pay $16,000 in attorney fees to the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, who represented the plaintiffs. The parties have 60 days from July 21 to jointly file a status report regarding the ultimate dismissal of the case.

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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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