November 28, 2014

Adult Maine residents with disabilities to gain Medicaid services with lawsuit settlement

11-28-2014 Maine:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Adults in Maine with autism and intellectual disabilities will receive housing and other support services through the state's Medicaid program under a class-action lawsuit settlement.

The settlement, completed Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court, was welcomed by Gerald Petruccelli, the plaintiffs' attorney.

"The best of it was that we worked collaboratively with the Department of Health and Human Services and the attorney general's office before things got too far down the legal path," he told the Portland Press Herald.

He told the paper ( ) as many as 1,000 people could benefit from the agreement. The suit filed in 2013 said some people who sought MaineCare services had been on waiting lists for years.

The Department of Health and Human Services said in response that there was not enough money to cover those services.

Eighteen people sued, but the settlement could benefit as many as 1,000 people who are on waiting lists for MaineCare services including housing vouchers and other support. The state's share of the cost of services to the people affected by the settlement is expected to be about $7 million.

DHHS spokesman David Sorensen told the paper he was aware of the settlement, but that the department would have no comment at this time.

Petruccelli said that while Gov. Paul LePage's administration agreed to the settlement, there were no specifics on how the money would be generated or shifted to pay for it.

Rep. Richard Farnsworth, the Portland Democrat who chairs the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee, said he thinks there is enough flexibility in the MaineCare budget to meet the settlement terms. ..Source.. by Portland Press Herald

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