NCLEJ and Other Advocates Sue Missouri for Medicaid Change that Would Cause Unnecessary Institutionalization of Dialysis Patients

NCLEJ, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, the Saint Louis Legal Clinic, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and two private attorneys have filed a federal lawsuit to challenge a new Medicaid policy that will cause Medicaid recipients who live in the community to move to nursing homes to continue necessary kidney dialysis treatment. Plaintiffs arefive Medicaid recipients who live in their homes and get Medicaid transportation to dialysis and a grassroots organization serving people with disabilities.

The case, Talton v. Kinkade, was filed on June 19, 2012, in the Western District of Missouri. The lawsuit claims that the new Medicaid policy, as applied to plaintiffs, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibit states from designing and operating the Medicaid program in a way that forces people with disabilities to move into nursing homes to get the services they need. Nursing home care would be far more expensive for the State than continuing to serve the plaintiffs in the community. Plaintiffs have asked the court to require the State to continue providing transportation to dialysis for the plaintiffs and declare that the failure to do so violates the federal disability rights laws.

Plaintiffs’ counsel are Cary LaCheen and Marc Cohan of NCLEJ, Joel Ferber of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, John Ammon of the Saint Louis Legal Clinic, Jennifer Mathis of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Tom Kennedy, and Stephen Gold.  For more information, click here.

Update: Click here for an August 30, 2012 editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch setting out the issues and urging Missouri to change its policies to allow people needing kidney dialysis to stay in the community.