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Unsuccessful Medicaid applicants aren't entitled to in-person hearing

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People whose applications have been denied for Medicaid disability benefits do not have a constitutional right to an in-person administrative hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

Paul Terrell, on behalf of himself and a class of those similarly situated, sued Anne Murphy as secretary of Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, and Patricia Casanova, as director of the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning of the FSSA, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

The class challenges the use of telephonic hearings regarding Medicaid disability appeals. As of Oct. 1, 2009, the FSSA conducts hybrid hearings in which the unsuccessful applicant and ALJ are in the same room but the state’s representative appears telephonically. In the past, the FSSA may have scheduled in-person or telephonic hearings, in which all participants call into a virtual hearing room.

The trial court granted the class’ motion for summary judgment and denied the state’s motion for summary judgment.

This was an error, the Court of Appeals concluded in Anne W. Murphy, et al. v. Paul Terrell, et al., No. 49A04-1003-PL-198, holding that unsuccessful applicants who appeal the denial of their eligibility to receive Medicaid benefits don’t have a constitutional right to an in-person administrative hearing. The appellate court used Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1975), Casey v. O’Bannon, 536 F. Supp. 350 (E.D. Pa. 1982), and State ex rel Human Servs. Dept. v. Gomez, 657 P.2d 117 (N.M. 1982), to find that a telephonic hearing affords the rejected applicants with the opportunity to be heard in a meaningful manner. The judges used the balancing test set forth in Mathews to reach this conclusion.

Although the rejected applicants have a substantial private interest in the decisions regarding the status of their application for disability benefits, the other two factors weigh in favor of the state. The evidence shows the use of telephonic hearings lets the state better manage public funds and utilize decreasing resources efficiently. There is also no risk a person would suffer an erroneous deprivation of his or her private interest through the procedures used, and the probable value, if any, of additional or substitute procedural safeguards. The class failed to provide any empirical evidence to approximate the risk of deprivation or to what extent the individuals would erroneously be deprived by the hearings held over the phone, wrote Judge Cale Bradford.

The appellate court remanded for entry of summary judgment in favor of the state.

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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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