States can’t cut in-home care for disabled and elderly people if there’s a serious risk they’ll be forced into nursing homes, a federal appeals court has ruled. Friday’s ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco came from Washington state, where officials reduced home-care hours for 45,000 residents by 10 percent in February.
A federal judge in Washington allowed the state’s 10 percent reduction to take effect in February. The judge said the 12 plaintiffs who filed the suit were facing hardships largely because of their failing health, had failed to show that the cutbacks would remove them from their homes immediately, and were seeking aid that would require the state to cut other state programs for the disabled.
The appeals court overturned the ruling in a 2-1 decision that restores services only to the 12 plaintiffs because the suit has not yet been certified as a class action on behalf of all 45,000 recipients.
The court said the plaintiffs had shown a likelihood that the loss of services would force them into nursing homes, either in the near future or over time as their health declined.
The law does not require proof of immediate impact but only a showing of a “serious risk of institutionalization,” Judge William Fletcher said in the majority opinion, citing arguments submitted by the Obama administration’s Justice Department. This article appeared on page C – 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/article.cgif=/c/a/2011/12/19/BA181MEHEG.DTL#ixzz1iXpGW9zA
Most families in Washington that will be impacted by this ruling and similar actions do not have access to computers. Given our success with private insurance, a renewed focus for WAA is starting the new year by reaching out to the least supported, most underfunded populations. Your statewide support through volunteerism is greatly appreciated. Please visit our volunteer opportunities. Thank you for standing with us for improved access to evidence based healthcare (including behavioral therapies), effective education and social services for individuals with autism and related disabilities throughout Washington.
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