According to recent news that our Baltimore, Maryland nursing home attorneys have been following, thousands of low-income nursing home residents in the state of Maryland will reportedly have millions of dollars of debt paid, after a class action nursing home lawsuit involving Medicaid payments has reached a settlement—the second-largest settlement in state’s history.
Maryland nursing home residents reportedly filed the lawsuit in 2005, claiming that the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene was in violation of both state and federal laws by confirming that the state could cover the residents’ nursing home costs with Medicaid, a federal and state program for the poor. The lawsuit reportedly claims that the department didn’t factor in the health care cost that each resident totaled while waiting to qualify for Medicaid coverage in the homes–that led to a significant amount of debt.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. federal agency that administers Medicaid, states are required to factor in this kind of debt when computing the income of nursing home residents, but had been reportedly calculating the cost incorrectly. States have been requiring recipients of Medicaid to make co-pays, regardless of their previous debts.
Now Medicaid managers for the state of Maryland and other states will stop requiring Medicaid co-pays from individuals who accrued debt while living in nursing homes while waiting for Medicaid eligibility. The patients will reportedly be able to use their own money to pay the past-due nursing home bills, and the state will make up the difference by paying the nursing homes directly.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs reportedly claimed that nursing home audits revealed that the state owned $64 million to Maryland nursing homes from 2002 until now. State officials reportedly denied the findings of the audit, and any responsibility for wrongdoing. According to John Folkemer, the deputy secretary for health-care financing for the state of Maryland, the state asked for the details of the audit, and found that the amount was significantly less than $64 million. Folkemer claimed that they collectively agreed to settle the nursing home lawsuit for $16 million.
More than 12,000 former and current nursing home residents were part of the Maryland class action nursing home lawsuit, and over 300 nursing homes were owed in the suit. The $16 million settlement will reportedly be paid directly to nursing homes that did not receive payments from nursing home patients, to clear out the old debt.
In Washington D.C. or Maryland, contact Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC today.
Nursing Homes, Patients Win Debt Payments in Medicaid Settlement, The Baltimore Sun, August 18, 2010
Md. Begins Paying $16 Million to Settle Nursing Home Lawsuit, The Washington Post, August 19, 2010
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