NCLEJ and Partners Sue Louisiana over Poor Mental Health Services for Children
Yesterday, NCLEJ filed a class action lawsuit in federal court on behalf of thousands of Medicaid eligible children in Louisiana who have been affectedby Louisiana’s failure to meet its obligation to provide mental health services to children receiving Medicaid.
We challenge Louisiana’s long-standing systemic failure to provide Medicaid recipients under the age of 21 with access to intensive home and community-based services (IHCBS) throughout the state, despite the necessity of these services for children with serious mental health needs. As a result, thousands of children and youth receiving Medicaid are forced to unnecessarily cycle in and out of hospitals and psychiatric facilities far away from their homes for extended periods of time, and some become inappropriately involved in the juvenile justice system.
The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring Louisiana to fulfill its obligation under the law to provide the necessary IHCBS for children with mental health needs and to prevent the unnecessary risk of institutionalization. It also asks the Court to grant class certification to include all Medicaid-eligible children and youth under the age of 21 with a psychiatric illness, including children with severe emotional disturbances.
NCLEJ brings this suit with our co-counsel, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Health Law Program, the Advocacy Center of Louisiana, and O’Melveny & Myers LLP.